Vinesh Phogat wins bronze at World C’ships, secures Olympics spot

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After becoming the first Indian wrestler to secure an Olympics quota for the 2020 Tokyo Games, Asian Games gold medallist Vinesh Phogat on Wednesday ended her medal drought at Wrestling World Championships by winning a bronze here.

Vinesh Phogat bags bronze

Vinesh beat two-time world bronze medalist Maria Prevolaraki of Greece by fall in the bronze medal bout of 53 kg freestyle category. She is only the fourth Indian female wrestler to win a medal at the meet.

Earlier, Vinesh won both her matches in the repechage round of the 53-kg weight category to seal a quota for Tokyo Olympics.

Vinesh first defeated former World Championships bronze medallist Yuliya Khalvadzhy of Ukraine 5-0 and then went on to upset World silver medalist Sarah Hildebrandt 8-2 in the second bout of the repechage round to enter bronze medal play-off bout where she faced Greece’s two-time World Championships medallist Maria Prevolaraki.

The 25-year-old, on Tuesday, began her quest for a maiden medal from the world event with a thunderous 13-0 win over Rio Olympics bronze medalist Sofia Mattsson of Sweden. Even though it sparked hopes of gold in her and spectators minds alike, her next bout against the reigning world champion Mayu Mukaida of Japan proved very tough.

The Japanese kept the Indian on the backfoot and prevented her from showing her usual aggression, resulting in a 0-7 loss for the Commonwealth Games gold medalist. This was the second consecutive defeat that Vinesh suffered at the hands of Mukaida following the Asian Championships.

However, with Mukaida managing to reach the final, Vinesh was presented with yet another shot at a medal and a spot in Olympics. And this time the Indian didn’t walk off the mat empty handed. All eyes are on Vinesh Phogat and her relentless quest to bag Gold at the Olympics.

IANS