Vin-win situation: Vinesh Phogat bags world c’ship bronze, Olympic quota

India’s Vinesh Phogat takes on Sarah Ann Hildebrandt of the US of their 53kg ladies’s freestyle repechage bout on the World Wrestling Championships in Astana on Wednesday. Vinesh received the bout 8-2 to e book a berth for the Tokyo Olympics.

The season that started with confusion for Vinesh Phogat climaxed on Wednesday with the Haryana wrestler navigating a minefield of a draw, beating an Olympic medalist and outclassing the world primary to win a World Championship medal within the 53kg freestle class — a bronze. Extra importantly, the 25-year-old Vinesh additionally secured an Olympic quota in Astana.

With a present of spectacular power and an equal measure of deftness, Vinesh laid to relaxation no matter little doubts there have been over her Olympic credentials. Whether or not she will be able to enhance the color of her medal is a debate for an additional day – and admittedly, she’ll have to tug off one thing extraordinary to beat both the brand new world champion Yong Mi Pak of North Korea or the silver medalist Mayu Mukaida of Japan, the 2 ladies who’re anticipated to proceed their dominance on this class.

The rostrum, in that sense, was a good reflection of the present hierarchy within the 53kg — there’s Pak and Mukaida, adopted by Vinesh and China’s Qianyu Pang. Then, there are the remaining. And Vinesh, one assumes, could be pleased to simply discover herself in that firm, for initially of the yr, she was riddled with self-doubts and insecurity over a change that, initially, was towards her will.

Vinesh was the queen of the 50kg class, profitable titles virtually all over the place she competed. So, when the Commonwealth and Asian Video games gold medalist was informed to leap up a weight class so near the Tokyo Olympics, it made little sense to her. Shifting to 53 would imply Vinesh would have a set of opponents whom she had by no means confronted earlier than and who, it was assumed, could be stronger than her.

However Woller Akos, Vinesh’s Hungarian coach, had his causes. The 25-year-old’s pure weight hovered across the 56-57kg mark. That meant, to proceed competing within the 50kg class, Vinesh must reduce somewhat greater than 10 p.c of her physique weight on the day of the competitors. “Vinesh would tell me she can lose weight. But with the new rule, the weigh-in is done in the morning of your bout and after one-and-a-half hour, you need to go on the mat. So it wasn’t possible for her to continue in 50kg,” Akos mentioned.

Altering weight was just the start of what appeared like remoulding India’s high wrestler. Akos spent months growing Vinesh’s power, bettering her heart-rate capability whereas on the similar time, overhauling her taking part in type — from linear actions on the mat, Vinesh was made to maneuver in a round movement.

What we noticed in Astana, Kazakhstan, during the last two days was Vinesh 2.0 — who doesn’t crumble after the primary three minutes, who doesn’t permit errors to creep into her recreation in the direction of the tip of a bout, and who cannot solely eke out wins purely utilizing her bodily power but in addition keep mentally robust in delicate conditions — the traits evident within the final two bouts on Wednesday.

All wrestlers Mukaida vanquished had been pulled again into Wednesday’s repechage rounds after the Japanese made the ultimate. Making full use of the second probability, Vinesh dispatched Ukraine’s Yuliia Blahinya 5-Zero in her first repechage bout. Subsequent, she noticed off World No.1 Sarah Ann Hildebrandt of the USA with a robust defence. Hildebrandt caught maintain of Vinesh’s proper leg 5 instances within the six-minute bout, however the Indian used her upper-body power to wriggle out of bother every time to win the match 8-2. That victory ensured an Olympic quota for Vinesh, whose sojourn on the Rio Olympics led to tears after she suffered a career-threatening posterolateral ligament complicated tear in her knee.

The medal bout towards Maria Prevolaraki regarded simple on paper, on condition that the Greek’s worldwide report pales when in comparison with Vinesh’s. However Prevolaraki was more energizing as this was her first bout of the day whereas it was the third for the Indian (the variety of repechage rounds depends upon the stage a wrestler misplaced within the prelims).

The bronze medal playoff was a cagey, defensive affair and Vinesh was penalised mid-way by means of the primary spherical for being too passive. Prevolaraki tried to guard the one-point lead along with her robust defence. However Vinesh waited for her alternative, understanding she would discover one opening in her opponent’s defence. That second got here with simply 75 seconds remaining within the bout when Vinesh launched a counter on a uncommon Greek assault and pinned her all the way down to clinch her first Worlds medal after three failed makes an attempt up to now.

“What I left in Rio, I hope to take it in Tokyo,” she was quoted as saying after the bout in reference to her pressured exit on the 2016 Video games. “For five years, I have been trying and trying and trying. I changed my weight from 50 to 53, and I finally win this medal.”

Pooja eyes bronze

PTI provides from Astana: Including to the elation of the Indian camp was a gritty present by Pooja within the 59kg, a non-Olympic class. Pooja reached the semifinals with a exceptional come-from-behind 11-Eight win over Japan’s Yuzuka Inagaki earlier than shedding the semifinal by technical superiority to Russia’s Liubov Ovcharova, the 2017 European champion. She’s going to now combat for her second bronze medal on the Worlds, having received one in 57kg on the 2018 Budapest version.

In different outcomes, Seema Bisla missed Olympic qualification within the 50kg after shedding her second repechage spherical 3-11 to Russia’s Ekaterina Poleshchuk. Sarita Mor, up towards Moldova’s Anastasia Nichita, misplaced the 57kg qualification bout 1-5. She was ousted when Nichita misplaced her quarterfinal.

Within the 76kg, Kiran rattled her German opponent Aline Rotter Focken to steer 4-Zero however misplaced 5 factors in a row within the second interval to lose the opening bout 4-5. With the German then shedding within the semifinal, Kiran’s marketing campaign ended. Navjot Kaur fared no higher within the 65kg class.

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