Vinesh Phogat to move up to 53kg ahead of World Championships

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Vinesh Phogat to move up to 53kg ahead of World Championships

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SportsCafe Desk

03/02/2019

India’s biggest hope in wrestling in the Tokyo Olympics, Vinesh Phogat has decided to compete in the 53 kg category, instead of her preferred 50 kg, from this year. The 24-year-old has had a brilliant 2018 where she won the gold medal in the Commonwealth Games as well as the Asian Games.

With the United World Wrestling (UWW) now making the same-day weigh-in mandatory, the wrestlers have found themselves in trouble. The ones who have been reducing a significant amount to compete from a particular category have found it difficult to regain full body strength in time for another competition and also risking injuries.

Phogat, who is currently participating in Dan Kolov tournament in Bulgaria from her preferred 50kg category, herself, had to reduce eight to nine kilograms. And, the wrestler has now decided to put on weight to lower the injuries risks and sustain in the sport for long.

“I will be competing in the 53 kg category this year and possibly at the World Championships and Olympics as well if I qualify. It is a decision that my coach Woller Akos and me have taken after a lot of thought. Let’s see how it goes,” said Vinesh Phogat in an interview with Scroll.

The wrestler from Haryana has previously competed in the 48 kg category when making her senior international debut and has also appeared in the 53-55 kg category as well. However, following the rule change in January 2018 when the 48 kg was scrapped, Phogat wasn’t left with any choice but to move to 50 kg.

Ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, where she would be India’s biggest hope from the wrestling contingent, Phogat has a tough decision to make but the wrestler has decided to take one competition at a time and revealed that she would think of Tokyo only after World Championships.

“Injuries was the main issue and if I stay injury free, I can wrestle long term. It’s not like Tokyo Games are the end of my career. I have to think ahead as well. It’s a 50-50 decision and I’ll know more clearly closer to the world championships in September but till then I will be in 53 kg,” added Phigat, who would be facing Uzbekistan’s A Keunimjaeva on Saturday winning which could put see her in a potential semi-final against reigning world champion Sarah Hildebrandt of USA.

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