Tokyo Olympics | Vinesh Phogat to return empty-handed

India’s Vinesh Vinesh competes with Sofia Magdalena Mattsson of Sweden during the Women's Freestyle 53kg 1/8 Final on day thirteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Makuhari Messe Hall on Thursday, August 5, 2021 in Chiba, Japan.   | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Top seed Vinesh Phogat's dream of getting an Olympics medal remained unfulfilled in her second successive Games.

Vinesh, who had exited the Rio Games in tears after picking up a knee injury during a bout, started brightly defeating Rio Olympic bronze medallist Sofia Mattsson 7-1 in the first round before losing to former World champion and current European champion Belarusian Vanesa Kaladzinskaya ‘by fall’ in the women’s 53kg quarterfinals on Thursday.

The Indian, a World championships bronze medallist, spent a few anxious hours before learning about her exit from the bronze medal contention following Vanesa’s loss to Chinese Qianyu Pang in the semifinals. Had Vanesa made it to the final, Vinesh would have got into the repechage round to fight for a medal.


The 26-year-old Indian, considered a strong medal contender, relied on counter-attacks to flip and take down Sofia for a 4-0 lead. She fetched another point off a push-out to register a 5-0 lead at the break.

Vinesh gained two more points as she counter-attacked the legs of the Swedish for another takedown. She conceded only one point while heavily defending Sofia’s attacks.

Vinesh met her match in Vanesa in the last eight. The Belarusian went ahead through a takedown in the first minute, but Vinesh equalised by flipping her opponent to make it 2-2. Vanesa moved swiftly sideways to go 4-2 up and enjoyed a 5-2 lead at the breather.

Fighting back

Vinesh fought back to effect a takedown. But Vanesa was awarded two points instead. The Indian won a challenge and the score was revised to 5-3 from 7-2.

Vinesh tried to catch up but Vanesa extended her lead to 7-3 off another counter. With 35 seconds to go, the Indian gave her all but the Belarusian replied by pinning Vinesh on the mat and ending the bout at 9-3.

Anshu Malik lost her first repechage round match to Rio Games silver medallist Valeria Koblova of Russia 5-1 to see the end of his Olympic campaign.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 2:49:02 AM |

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