Vinesh Phogat has clinched a medal in the World Wrestling Championship for the first time in her career. (Image credit: Twitter)
Vinesh Phogat continued to have a wonderful day in the World Wrestling Championships. After becoming the first Indian wrestler to secure a birth in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Vinesh secured her first medal in the World Wrestling Championship as she defeated two-time world medallist Maria Prevolaraki from Greece to secure a bronze in Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan on Wednesday. This was the first time Vinesh had won a medal in the World Wrestling Championship and it came after she was pitted in a very tough draw in the 53kg category.
Vinesh became the first Indian wrestler to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Vinesh sealed the India’s first Tokyo Olympics berth in wrestling with an 8-2 win over Sarah Hildebrandt of USA in her second bout of the repechage round. With this win, the Asian Games gold medallist Vinesh Phogat also qualified for the bout for bronze medal at the ongoing Wrestling World Championship.
The Asian Games gold medallist has defeated Yuliia Khavaldzhy Blahinya from Ukraine 5-0 in her first bout of the repechage round. Vinesh had lost to reigning champion Mayu Mukaida on Tuesday. However, the Japanese Mukaida later reached the final helping Vinesh stay in the hunt for the bronze medal.
Earlier in the year, Vinesh clinched a bronze in her new 53kg weight category at the Asian Wrestling Championships in Xian, China. Vinesh has moved up to a higher category from 50kg in which she had won a gold in the Jakarta Asian Games after rejigging of weight classes by the world governing body for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She had competed in 53kg at the UWW Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov tourney in Bulgaria last month and secured a silver medal.
Vinesh had a disappointing start as she lost to Mayu Mukaida of Japan, who came through the qualification round. The Japanese were declared a 10-0 winner in a victory by technical superiority verdict.
In 2018, Vinesh became the golden girl of Indian wrestling. She won gold in Women's Freestyle 50 kg event by defeating Canada's Jessica MacDonald in the 50 kg category to win India's first gold in the women's wrestling category at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast. In the 2018 Asian Games, she created history as she became the first Indian woman wrestler to win gold in the Asian Games by beating Japan's Yuki Irie in Women's 50 kg Freestyle Wrestling gold medal match. With her performances in the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, Vinesh is one of the best bets for a medal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.