Jakarta: Indian camp was left with eerie silence at the Olympic Park wrestling dome in 2016 Rio Olympic Games when one of the best medal prospects was left injured during her bout against Sun Yanan of China. There was no explanation to what really happened during that contest as Vinesh dislocated her knee joint before being stretchered out.
Phogat family had to live with that agony for two years, but on Monday here at the Convention Centre Assembly Hall at the GBK Stadium, Vinesh left nothing for granted as she dispatched off her opponents without even breaking sweat.
After ensuring herself a place in the gold medal bout, Vinesh began aggressively in the second session that began after a break of three hours and floored Yuki Irie of Japan 6-2. She led 4-0 in the first period and improved it to 6-2 after Yuki snatched two points from leg clinch, but the Indian was in no mood to give any inch.
In the morning she had beaten Yanan 8-2 in the first round before blanking South Korea’s Hyunjoo Kim 11-0 in the quarterfinals and Dauletbike Yakhshimuratova of Uzbekistan10-0 in the semi-final. Back-to-back gold medal from wrestling was just the dose Indian contingent was looking for after shooters in the port city of Palembang managed two silver medals as gold medal continued to elude them.
Vinesh, who won a bronze medal in the 2014 Incheon Games has come a long way even as the attention was more on the Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi Malik, who was in the 62-kg event. Like Sakshi, Pooja Dhanda also made it to the bronze medal play-off but medal remained at the arms’ length, while Pinki fizzled out without a note.
There was one men’s freestyle category listed for the day and Sumit was lucky to earn the chance in repechage and bronze medal play-off, but he was no match to Uzbekistan’s Davit Modzmanashivili as he lost 0-2.
The final bout
Vinesh was cautious, to begin with as she first sized up her Japanese opponent, who took time to open the attack. It helped the Indian as much and Vinesh was quick to grab the opening that Yuki provided as she went for the first leg clinch, getting four points in quick succession, as the clock ticked away.
However, in the second period, both wrestlers took no chances which forced the Iranian referee to caution Vinesh and awarded the first point to the Japanese. With desperation getting the better of the Japanese, Yuki went for a final assault, but Vinesh showed better grip and ultimately earned two more points to romp home winner.
“It became close in the second period,” admitted Vinesh. “But I knew had to hold on to the last few seconds with a good lead because my opponent was looking for an opening to attack. I am happy to go through the distance,” said Vinesh on winning her first Asiad gold medal.
50-kg (Vinesh Phogat):
Round 1: bt Sun Yanan (Chn) 8-2; QF: bt Hyungjoo Kim (Kor) 11-0; SF: bt Dauletbike Yakhshimuratova (Uzb) 10-0; Final: bt Yuki Irie (Jpn) 6-2.
Round 1: lost to Sumiya Erenechimeg (Mgl) 0-10; QF: Sumiya bt Pham Thiha Phuong (Vie) 12-2; SF: Sumiya lost to Zhuldyz Eashimova (Kaz) 11-12.
57-kg (Pooja Dhanda):
Round 1: bt Orasa Sookdongyor 10-0; QF: bt Nabira Esenbaeva (Uzb) 12-1; SF: lost to Myong Suk Jong (Prk) 0-10. Bronze medal match: lost to Katsuki Sakagami (Jpn) 1-6.
62-kg (Sakshi Malik):
Round 1: bt Salinee Srisombat (Tha) 10-0; QF: bt Ayaulym Kassymova (Kaz) 10-0; SF: lost to Aisuluu Tynybekova (Kgz) 7-9. Bronze medal match: lost to Rim Jong Sim (Prk) 2-12.
Round 1: lost to Parviz Hadibasmanj (Irn) 0-10. QF: Parviz bt Oleg Boltin (Kaz) 10-0; SF: Parviz bt Davit Modzmanashivili (Uzb) 11-8; Bronze medal match: Sumit v Davit Modzmanashivili (Uzb) 0-2.