Not The Best Possible Start: Vinesh Phogat On Winning Silver, Dan Kolov
Star wrestler Vinesh Phogat lost her women’s 53kg final to China’s Qianyu Pang 2-9 and settled for the silver. The Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov 2019 is offing in Ruse, Bulgaria, and India’s gold medallist in the Asiad and Commonwealth Games also participated in her first tournament since moving from the 50 kg category. This was her debut at the United World Wrestling ranking series.
On her way to the finals, Vinesh had defeated World Championships silver medallist Sarah Hildebrandt in the semifinals on Saturday.
“I have to work on my upper body because my opponents are strong. I took part in this event as I need to know my opponents,” Vinesh told the United World Wrestling official website after her semifinal win. Vinesh is the first Indian ever – man or woman – to be nominated for the prestigious Laureus World Sports Award.
“I have to work on my upper body because my opponents are strong. I took part in this event as I need to know my opponents.” -Vinesh
At Dan Kolov, Vinesh is competing in a higher weight category of 53kg instead of her preferred category of 50kg. That change is itself a challenge and it was visible in her final match.
The disappointed wrestler shared some moments from the tournament on Twitter:
Not the best possible start in this new weight category but good to be back on the mat! Enjoyed competing at #DanKolov2019, and picked up a lot of important lessons. All in all, not a bad way to begin preparations for what will be a BIG year 💪 pic.twitter.com/kYJ4TbIhog
— Vinesh Phogat (@Phogat_Vinesh) March 3, 2019
Meanwhile, wrestlers Pooja Dhanda claimed the gold in the 59 kg category, while Sakshi Malik won silver in 65 kg women’s freestyle. “The win over World Champion Olli has given me a lot of confidence and will keep me in good stead for the upcoming Asian Championships,” said Malik. She competed in a category higher than her usual 62kg. “From here we have trials in India for the Asian Championships and then another event in USA so to lose weight thrice in one month or so would affect my performance as there would be a lot of diet control and that affects training too,” explained Sakshi.
— United World Wrestling (@wrestling) March 3, 2019
The year 2018 was the young wrestler’s year. She clinched the gold medal in the 50 kg freestyle at the Asian Games in Jakarta and become the first Indian woman wrestler to do so. Avenging a heartbreaking loss at the Olympics two years ago, she also won gold at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, a silver in the 2018 Asian Championships in Bishkek.
Before heading off to the Asian Games, she bagged gold at the Spanish Grand Prix in Madrid in July. Vinesh won the gold medal in the women’s freestyle 50 kg category and dominated the stage, conceding just one point in five bouts.
Picture credit: TOI