Wrestler Vinesh Phogat was defeated at the Olympics after Belarus' Vanesa Kaladzinskaya pinned her at the women's freestyle (53kg) quarterfinals event on Thursday. Thus, she is out of the gold medal race and at the risk of getting eliminated. This has massively upset Vinesh, who is one of the most prominent wrestlers in the country.
Vinesh had no answer to the supreme defence of Vanesa. Earlier this year, Vanesa herself had suffered a similar defeat "by fall" earlier this year in Ukraine.
In the quarter-final match, the reigning European champion Vanesa implemented her headlocks perfectly as the 26-year-old wrestler could not find a way to wriggle out of those. Even after putting all her might, she could not crumble Vanesa's defence. She implemented the famous double-leg attack that she earlier used to get herself into position to pin her rivals. But that did not earn her points, reported Hindustan Times.
Now, if Vanesa does not make it to the final, Vinesh will be unable to secure a medal.
Performance in Rio Olympics
However, this is not the first time that Vinesh got knocked out at the quarterfinals. Even at the Rio Olympics in 2016, Vinesh was defeated at the quarterfinals. She had endured an injury in the knee and had to be stretchered out of the mat. Later, this was discovered to be a career-threatening anterior cruciate ligament tear.
However, before that unfortunate incident, the Indian wrestler had defeated the six-time world medalist and Rio Olympics bronze winner Sofia Mattsson, commanding a mighty 7-1 win.
At her maiden World Championship in 2019 as well, Vinesh had defeated Mattsson. Every time the Swedish player initiated a right-leg attack, Vinesh produced an excellent counter, scoring points. Vinesh had turned Mattsson from a difficult position on the edge of the mat. Vinesh maintained her intensity throughout and even got Mattson into a position for a pin, demonstrating her immense strength. But Mattsson narrowly escaped the embarrassment.
Advancing The Phogat Legacy
Vinesh is the daughter of legendary wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat's younger brother Rajpal and cousin of wrestlers Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari. Both Geeta and Babita have won gold in the 55 kg category in Commonwealth Games.
In allowing the girls of the family to pursue wrestling, both Mahavir and Rajpal had countered the immense resistance of their community in Haryana. However, Vinesh proved her might when she became the first Indian woman wrestler to win gold in the Asian Games and the Commonwealth. She also received the Arjuna Award in 2016 and later became the first Indian athlete to be nominated for the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards.