Tokyo Olympics 2020: Vinesh Phogat form guide - Strengths, weaknesses, recent results
- Ace India wrestler Vinesh Phogat will go into the upcoming Tokyo Olympics as the top-seed in the 53 kg freestyle category. Before she takes to the mat, take a look at her form guide, strengths, weaknesses, and recent results.
Ace India wrestler Vinesh Phogat will go into the upcoming Tokyo Olympics as the top-seed in the 53 kg freestyle category. The Haryana-born grappler would look to avenge a heartbreaking Olympic debut campaign as she had finished 10th at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
But 5 years later, with numerous titles under her belt, Phogat, who is the only female wrestler from India to qualify for Tokyo, is leading the favourites list to win a medal.
The 2021 Asian Champion hails from a successful family of wrestlers, with her cousins Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari, who are also international wrestlers.
The two-time Commonwealth and one-time Asian Games gold medallist's decision to change her weight category from 48 kg to 53 kg has worked wonders, including helping her win a bronze medal at the 2019 world championships.
The manner in which Phogat has dominated the circuit, she is touted by many to win the top honours. Not only has she won more medals in the recent past but also increased strength in her muscles. That helps her overpower he opponents. Moreover, Phogat is tactically sound, which allows her to bail herself out of tough situations and maintain her calm to close out intense bouts.
In addition, she could also use her current form to a great advantage. Besides entering the mega event as the highest-seeded wrestler, she comes on the back of an Asian Championships gold.
Japan's Mayu Mukaida is expected to give Phogat a tough challenge and in order for the Indian wrestler to escape unscathed, she must work on her biggest weakness of losing points on the counter-attack.
Phogat has had a few run-ins with injuries. At the 2016 Games, she suffered an ACL tear and had to be stretchered off from the mat during her quarterfinals bout. It was an injury that could have ended her career and hopes of making it to Tokyo. Now that she has, she would look to make ammends.
The 26-year-old's stellar run so far in 2021 means she has a serious chance of securing a gold medal. Phogat beat 2017 world champion Vanesa Kaladzinskay in the 53 kg final to win the gold medal at the Outstanding Ukrainian Wrestlers and Coaches Memorial tournament in February.
Phogat then soared to a second gold medal in as many weeks, beating Canada’s Diana Mary Helen Weicker in the final of the Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series event.
Most recently, in the build-up to the Summer Games, she bagged the 53kg Gold at Poland Open.
The 32nd Summer Games open on July 23.