Indian wrestling ace Vinesh Phogat clinched a bronze medal in the World Wrestling Championships on Wednesday by registering a comprehensive 4-1 victory over Greece's Maria Prevolaraki. Pooja Dhanda, however, remained one match shy from the bronze that could have been her second medal at Worlds.
It might have taken a day extra but Phogat has, quite expectantly, clinched a berth at the Tokyo Olympics in the 53 kg category. After going medal-less in the three previous editions, Phogat finally broke the voodoo by getting the better of Maria Prevolaraki by fall in the bronze-medal bout.
Prior to that, Phogat had seen off world number one Sarah Ann Hildebrandt her second repechage round to qualify for the Olympics. One of India’s best wrestlers, Phogat already has gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games.
Apart from Phogat, Dhanda also put up a robust show in the 59kg category, which was a non-Olympic category. She had reached the semis with a brilliant comeback 11-8 win over Japan’s Yuzuka Inagaki before she lost by technical superiority to Russia’s Liubov Ovcharova.
Dhanda, however, still has a chance for a second bronze medal at the Worlds and in the process could become the first female wrestler and only second Indian to win two World medals. Only Bajrang Punia has achieved by winning a bronze in 2013 and a silver medal in 2018.
Apart from them, very much was expected from Sarita Mor after she had stunned Dhanda in the trials, but she panned out to be immensely disappointing. Against Moldova’s Anastasia Nichita, Mor looked way more defensive, thereby losing the 57kg Qualification bout 1-5 before she lost to Nichita in quarterfinal.
The 76kg category saw Kiran getting surprised by Germany’s Aline Rotter Focken for she lost five points in a row after leading 4-0 early on. Navjot Kaur was also eliminated from the 65kg category after she lost to Azerbaijan’s Alis Manolova.