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INDIA AT ASIAN GAMES 2018
  • gold15
  • silver24
  • bronze30
  • Total69

Asian Games 2018: Vinesh Phogat wins India’s maiden Asiad gold in women’s wrestling

Vinesh got off to a great start as she thumped Yanan Sun of China 8-2 to enter the last 8 of the 50 kg category. She was outstanding form in her quarter-final bout as she annihilated Hyungjoo Kim of South Korea 11-0 to win by technical superiority.

asian games 2018 Updated: Aug 21, 2018 09:24 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
Asian Games,Asian Games 2018,Sakshi Malik
China's Sun Yanan, left, and India's Vinesh Vinesh compete during the woman's freestyle 50 kg wrestling at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. (AP)

Vinesh Phogat created history on the wrestling mat on Monday as she became the first Indian woman to win a gold medal in wrestling at the Asian Games. The 23-year old won the yellow metal in women’s 50 kg freestyle wrestling by beating Japan’s Yuki Irie 6-2 in the final. She had earlier won her semi-final bout in little over a minute to storm into the title round, beating Uzbekistan’s Dauletbike Yakhshimuratova by technical superiority. (MEDAL TALLY) (IN PICS - Vinesh Phogat’s win)

Vinesh got off to a great start as she thumped Yanan Sun of China 8-2 to enter the last 8 of the 50 kg category. She was outstanding form in her quarter-final bout as she annihilated Hyungjoo Kim of South Korea 11-0 to win by technical superiority.

She had settled for the bronze medal four years ago at Incheon but there was no stopping the Haryana girl this time around. She is already a two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist.

“I wanted to change the colour of my medal and I was adamant for this even before I landed in Jakarta,” said Vinesh after her second gold medal in the past five months. “I didn’t even think for a silver medal even when I was going for my final bout.”

“I had a great opportunity again as my body was responding well. I had really worked hard and everything came together today by the grace of God, I would say,” saids Vinesh. “Yes, it was a tough time mentally and physically (when she was injured). However, I left it behind and felt stronger after injury.”

Vinesh said she sets great store by self-belief. “Sushil Kumar had told me never feel disappointed in your life even if you don’t get a medal as that is destiny but keep working hard. I am practising this in life too,” said Vinesh, after admitting that she learnt a lot in the time she was injured.

“I learnt a lot when I was away from mat. I take a lot of risks in life I would say. I have lot of self-belief and you can achieve anything if you have that. There was pressure but with that I also knew I was stronger than her. I wanted to show that and that what I did today.”

Vinesh’s historic performance though failed to inspire the other woman wrestlers as they drew a blank. Sakshi Malik, the 2016 Rio Olympic bronze medallist, made a bright start as she outclassed Salinee Srisombat of Thailand to win by technical superiority in the first round of the 62 kg category. She was in outstanding form in the quarter-finals too as she blanked Kazakhstan’s Kassymova Ayaulym 10-0 to enter the semis. She though went down in final seconds of her semi-final bout, eventually losing 7-8 to Aisuluu Tynybekova of Kyrgyzstan. A bronze beckoned via repechage but the Indian was overwhelmed by North Korea’s Rim Jong Sim, who trumped Sakshi by technical superiority.

Pooja Dhanda also got off to a winning start in the 57 kg category as she dominated her Thai opponent. Dhanda was at her ruthless best as she beat Orasa Sookdongyor 10-0 to win by technical superiority. She then outclassed Nabira Esenbaeva of Uzbekistan 12-1 in the quarter-final to get into touching distance of ensuring a medal for India. Pooja though went down meekly, 0-10, to Jong Myong of North Korea in the semi-finals. There were hopes of a bronze medal through repechage but Dhanda lost to Japan’s Katsuki Sakagami 1-6 to bow out without a medal.

Pinki disappointed in the 53 kg category as she lost her opening bout 0-10 to Mongolia’s Sumiya Erdenechimeg. She could make it to the repechage if her opponent reaches the final round.

Sumit Malik, the only male wrestler in the fray today, lost his first round bout to Iran’s Parviz Hadibasmanj. He though qualified for the repechage as his opponent reached the final of the respective category. Sumit won his first repechage round by beating Oleg Boltin of Uzbekistan, but went down 0-2 to Davit Modzmanashvili of Uzbekistan.

First Published: Aug 20, 2018 13:07 IST