Before the start of women’s wrestling in Rio, Vinesh Phogat was seen as the best bet in the three-member Indian women’s squad. Living up to expectations, she defeated Romania’s Alina Emilia Vic in the opening bout. In the quarterfinals, a ligament tear in the knee spoilt her medal chances as she had to concede the bout.
The disappointment of the Phogat family here was short lived as Sakshi Malik’s bronze got them smiling. “Vinesh was looking confident after the first victory, and we were sure of a medal. The injury ruined everything. Never in our wildest dreams had we imagined this would happen. This is destiny, so she was helpless,” said Vinesh’s uncle-cum-coach Mahavir Phogat.
Soon after, the Phogats were again glued to the television for Sakshi’s bout. “We are disappointed because Vinesh was ahead of the Chinese wrestler and the injury let the medal slip out. When the ticker came on TV for Sakshi’s bout, we realised there was hope. By winning bronze, Sakshi has made up for Vinesh’s loss. She played brilliantly in the medal round,” said Sangeeta, Mahavir’s youngest daughter.
On Thursday, Babita will be competing in the 53kg weight division. “We can only say good luck, let’s see what she does,” said father Mahavir.