With eyes fixed on the Tokyo Olympics, Indian grappler Vinesh Phogat assured herself of an Olympic berth in her 53kg weight category. She defeated World No 1 Sarah Hildebrandt in the World Wrestling Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan on Wednesday. Should she win this bout, she will take home her first World Championship medal. And she is going to Tokyo Olympics 2020!

The 24-year-old used her strength and steady moves to take down her American opponent with an 8-2 win to secure her place at the Tokyo Games, slated to start from July 24, 2020. Vinesh now will face off Germany’s Maria Prevolaraki in the bronze-medal bout later on Wednesday.

With this, Vinesh Phogat becomes first Indian — man or woman — wrestler to book spot at Olympics 2020

Key Takeaways:

  • Vinesh Phogat becomes first Indian — man or woman — wrestler to book spot at Olympics 2020.
  • Vinesh Phogat qualifies for 2020 Olympics, to battle it out for World Championships bronze.
  • She assured herself of an Olympic berth in her 53kg weight category. The 25-year-old scored an impressive 8-2 win over the world championship silver medallist to secure her place at the Tokyo Games

Earlier, she remained in contention for an Olympic quota and a bronze medal after storming to a 5-0 win over Ukraine’s Yuliya Khalvadzhy in the first round of repechage in the 53kg category.

“Japan is a wrestling powerhouse. It takes some time to attack these girls. It’s about one technique, one move one point that changes the bout. I tried, it did not happen and she succeeded,” Vinesh said after her bout. CWG and Asian Games titles winner Vinesh had her game face on from the very beginning as she is eyeing a medal at the Worlds.

In another Olympic category, Seema Bisla (50kg) lost her pre-quarterfinal 2-9 to three-time Olympic medallist Mariya Stadnik. She too remained in hunt for bronze and Olympic qualification. “It’s not that Mariya was more powerful than me. She is more than me. I have just competed in 5-6 competitions in 50kg. I am learning and will get better,” said Seema.

Vinesh remains one of India’s biggest medal hopes in the upcoming Games in Tokyo. She had earlier created history by winning the gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.

Picture credit: Wrestlingtv/Facebook

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