Star women wrestler Vinesh Phogat got the better of Ecuador’s Luisa Elizabeth Melendres 4-0 in the final (53 kg) of Rome Ranking series on Friday. World Championships bronze-medallist Vinesh won her first gold medal of the 2020 season. Teen sensation Anshu Malik settled for silver in 57kg competition. Melendres’s strategies felt short compare to a dominant Vinesh.
The Indian grappler overcame two tough Chinese rivals on her way to the 53kg gold medal bout ultimately to overpower Valverde comprehensively. Earlier, Vinesh won her bouts against Khrystyna Bereza (10-0) and Lannuan Luo (15-5) by technical superiority.
- Top wrestler, a dominant Vinesh Phogat won her first gold medal of the 2020 season at the Rome Ranking Series event
- Teen sensation Anshu Malik settled for a silver in 57kg competition
- India’s biggest Tokyo Olympics medal hope Vinesh overcame two tough Chinese rivals on her way to the 53kg gold medal bout
The star that is Vinesh Phogat
After she bagged bronze at the World Wrestling Championships, and assured herself of an Olympic berth last year, grappler Vinesh Phogat occupied the number two spot in the world ranking charts in the 53kg weight category. This was Vinesh’s first world championship medal and this was also the first time she gains the status of world number two.
Going to Tokyo Olympics 2020
With eyes fixed on the Tokyo Olympics, Vinesh has sealed an Olympic berth in her 53kg weight category at the World Wrestling Championships this month. “It’s a relief because now I have a lot of time to prepare for the Olympics. And it’s a bronze only. I want to convert it to gold and also win the Olympic medal,” Vinesh Phogat had earlier said.
“I have won my quota for 53 kg for my country. I hope what I left incomplete in Rio, I will take in Tokyo. I am doing my best to win gold in Tokyo.”
In 2016, Vinesh (then aged 21) was one of the favourites to win a medal for India at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. But the youngest from a family of distinguished women wrestlers had met with a life-threatening knee injury which forced her tournament to an end in the quarterfinals. After rigorous training, she came back badass and knocked down opponents.
India’s gold medallist in the Asiad and Commonwealth Games has been competing in the 48 kg category since her senior international debut. But she has switched her weight category (from 50kg to 53kg) very recently, which was a very risky move but she came out winner in that too!
Vinesh is only the fifth Indian woman wrestler to win a Worlds medal after Alka Tomar (2006), Geeta Phogat (2012), Babita Phogat (2012) and Pooja Dhanda (2018).
“I never thought that I would recover and reach the Olympics again. I always keep thinking of getting another chance to win an Olympic medal. Even when I would get tired in training, thoughts of my Olympic dream kept me going.”
Ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, which is a few months away, she expresses, “I never thought that I would recover and reach the Olympics again. I always keep thinking of getting another chance to win an Olympic medal. Even when I would get tired in training, thoughts of my Olympic dream kept me going. I used the frustration of the last Olympics to secure the quota and it was a big weight off my shoulder.”
Vinesh’s cousin, another star wrestler from the family, Geeta Phogat had recently praised Vinesh for having grit and never-say-die attitude. “She is one of India’s finest female wrestlers. She is very hardworking and dedicated to her game. She never gives up,” Geeta wrote.
Picture credit: Wrestlingtv/Facebook