Indian female wrestler Vinesh Phogat defeated Chamodya Keshani Maduravalage, 4-0, for gold in women’s 53kg freestyle. Vinesh Phogat rose to fame after winning the gold medal in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and bronze at Incheon Asian Games that same year and has emerged as one of the best female wrestlers in her weight class. Vinesh Phogat became the first Indian women wrestler to win three straight golds in CWG, with the nation, as it did the previous edition, managing to medal in all 12 categories. On Saturday, she pounced over rivals in the Coventry Arena to become the first Indian women wrestler to claim three consecutive Commonwealth Games golds. India’s star wrestler Vinesh Phogat is also the first Indian woman to win gold in both the Asian and Commonwealth Games.
Going into Rio Olympics 2016, Vinesh Phogat was among the strongest contenders for an award. Still, an unfortunate incident during her quarterfinal match against Sun Yanan from China knocked her out of the tournament. Leaving the gut-wrenching defeat Vinesh Phogat suffered in the Olympic tournament two years back, Vinesh kicked off her triumphant campaign by winning her revenge against China’s Sun Yanan, whom she had suffered that horrible leg injury that shortened her Rio trip. Putting aside mental and physical struggles which had set Vinesh Phogat back, a bullied Vinesh Phogat pouncing over her challengers completed the CWG gold-medal trifecta, with even Ravi Dahiya going undefeated, with Indian wrestlers ending their campaign on a thumping. Meanwhile, Pooja Gehlot (50kg), Pooja Seekhag (76kg) and Deepak Nehra (97kg) won bronze in their respective weight categories from Pooja Gehlot (50kg), making this a total of 12 medals from 12 events in wrestling.
If the last match was a bit tough, Vinesh Phogat had no trouble winning her next two games relatively quickly to book her place for the finals. This turned out to be a frustrating day for the rest of India’s wrestlers, with Pinki In failing to impress at the 53kg category and Olympic medallists Sakshi Malik (62kg), Pooja Dhanda (57kg) losing their chances to earn a repechage. After a forgettable last year in which she “reached rock bottom psychologically,” Vinesh Phogat was able to reverse the tide with the help of a significant shift in her training programme and additional encouragement from her family. Vinesh Phogat needed a strong showing in the CWG following the Tokyo Olympics. The Wrestling Federation of India disqualified Phogat after losing in the second round in Tokyo. She had to face depression, concussion concerns, and elbow surgery to get back on the big stage.