Vinesh Phogat carves a niche for herself in wrestling

New Delhi, March 8: Vinesh Phogat is an Indian wrestler who hails from a successful background of wrestling with her cousins Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari, both international wrestlers and Commonwealth Games medalists as well. 

Vinesh is the daughter of wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat's younger brother Rajpal and the cousin of wrestlers Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari. Both her cousins have won gold in 55kg category in Commonwealth Games.

In allowing her cousins and herself to pursue competitive wrestling, her father and uncle had to deal with immense pressure and opposition from the community in their village in Haryana. They were adjudged as going against the morals and values of their community. Her cousin, Ritu Phogat, too is an international level wrestler and has won a gold medal at the 2016 Commonwealth Wrestling Championship.

In the 2013 Asian Wrestling Championships, Vinesh won the bronze medal in the women's freestyle 51 kg category, winning 3:0 in the bronze medal bout through the repechage round to Tho-Kaew Sriprapa of Thailand.

In the first round, Vinesh won 3:1 against Nanami Irie of Japan. She then lost 1:3 in the quarter-finals to Tatyana Amanzhol of Kazakhstan who qualified for the final thus qualifying the Indian grappler for the repechage round.

In the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Vinesh represented India in the women's freestyle 48 kg category at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and won the gold medal. 

In the quarter-finals, Vinesh faced Rosemary Nweke of Nigeria and beat her 5-0. Her semi-finals opponent was Jasmine Mian of Canada whom she beat 4-1. In the gold medal bout, she faced home favourite Yana Rattigan of England and won the gold medal, beating her 3-1.

At the 2015 Asian Championships in Doha, Phogat won the silver medal in her category after losing the final to Yuki Irie of Japan. In the qualifying tournament for the 2016 Rio Olympics held in Istanbul, she won in the final round beating Polish wrestler Iwona Matkowska, and qualified for the Olympics in the process. 

At the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Vinesh reached the Quarter Finals and lost to Sun Yanan of China owing to a knee injury.

On the immense success achieved by Vinesh Phogat, News24 salutes her on International Women's Day. 

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