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Wrestling: Vinesh loses in quarters; Anshu bows out after repechage defeat

Source: PTI
Last updated on: August 05, 2021 12:08 IST
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India's Vinesh Phogat in action against Belarus's Vanesa Kaladzinskaya during the Olympics women's 53kg Freestyle quarter-finals

IMAGE: India's Vinesh Phogat, right, in action against Belarus's Vanesa Kaladzinskaya during the Olympics women's 53kg Freestyle quarter-finals, at Makuhari Messe Hall A, Chiba, on Thursday. Photograph: Piroschka Van De Wouw/Reuters

Vinesh Phogat suffered a massive upset at the Olympic Games after being pinned by Belarus's Vanesa Kaladzinskaya in the women's 53kg Freestyle quarter-finals, and not only went out of the gold medal race but also faced the risk of being eliminated, in Tokyo, on Thursday.

The Indian wrestler had no answer to the supreme defence of Vanesa, who extracted revenge on the Indian at the biggest stage after suffering a similar embarrassing defeat 'by fall' earlier this year in Ukraine.

Vanesa, the reigning European champion, executed her strategy perfectly, as Vinesh was unable to find a way to wriggle out of her headlocks.

That crippled and rattled the top seeded Vinesh, one of the strongest wrestlers in her category.

Even when Vinesh got behind Vansea, she was unable to push her down on the knees from a favourable position, the Belarusian showing immense strength to keep her legs straight.

 Vinesh used all her might, but Vanesa's defence did not crumble. Even the famous double-leg attack that Vinesh has used to get herself into position to pin her opponents, did not result in points.

Now, if the Belarusian does not make the final, Vinesh's Olympics campaign will end in another heart-breaking exit.

She suffered a quarter-final defeat to China's Sun in the Rio Games, where she also endured a leg injury and was stretchered out of the mat.

Before this bout, Vinesh knocked out Rio Olympics bronze-winner and six-time World Championships medallist Sofia Mattsson with a commanding 7-1 win.

Vinesh had beaten the Swede at the 2019 World Championships as well.

Every time Mattsson initiated a right-leg attack, Vinesh produced a splendid counter to score points.

Showing immense power, the Indian turned the Swede from a difficult position on the edge of the mat when she could have conceded a point.

She maintained the intensity throughout and even got herself into a position for a pin but the Swede escaped the embarrassment.

Young Anshu Malik bowed out of the 57kg competition after losing her Repechage round 1-5 to Russia's Valeria Koblova, the Rio Olympics silver medallist.

Anshu never looked intimidated by a stronger opponent and was leading in the bout at one stage on criteria, but, towards the end, the Russian pulled off a two-pointer to nose ahead.

The 19-year-old Indian had lost her opener to European champion Irina Kurachikina but after the Belarusian progressed to the final, she bounced back in contention.

Ravi Dahiya (57kg) and Deepak Punia (86kg) will fight for gold and bronze medals respectively in the evening session.

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