Vinesh Phogat was India’s big medal hope at the Rio Olympics before a freak injury cut short her dream. Stronger and fitter, in a different weight category and even more a favourite this time around, the 25-year-old is also the lone woman wrestler to qualify for the Tokyo edition so far.

She might have failed to break the Mayu Mukaida jinx — losing to the Japanese for the third straight time in two years at the recent Asian Championships — but she had a smile on her face and an easy acceptance of her opponent’s superiority.

How do you see your own performance in this competition?

There is a lot to learn still, a lot to improve. Wrestling is something you can keep trying and learning forever, it always feels incomplete. We can only try to improve. It is happening and the coach has also said we are getting better. The first time we faced off she won 10-0, then it was 7-0 and…

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