Vinesh Phogat loses in wrestling quarterfinals at Tokyo Olympics

Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat lost to Vanesa Kaladzinskaya of Belarus in the quarterfinals of the Women's freestyle 53kg at the Tokyo Olympics.

Vinesh Phogat lost in the quarterfinals of the Women's freestyle 53kg.   -  REUTERS

Top seed Vinesh Phogat’s dream of getting an Olympics medal remained unfulfilled in her second successive Games in Tokyo on Thursday.

Vinesh, who had exited the Rio Games in tears after picking up a knee injury during a bout, beat Rio Olympic bronze medallist Sofia Mattsson 7-1 in the first round. But she lost to former World champion and current European champion Belarusian Vanesa Kaladzinskaya ‘by fall’ in the women’s 53kg quarterfinals.

The Indian, a World championships bronze medallist, spent a few anxious hours before learning about her exit from the bronze medal contention following Vanesa’s loss to Chinese Qianyu Pang in the semifinals.  Had Vanesa made it to the final, Vinesh would have got into the repechage round to fight for a medal.

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The 26-year-old Indian, considered a strong medal contender, relied on counterattacks to flip and take down Sofia for a 4-0 lead. She fetched another point off a push-out to register a 5-0 lead at the break.

Vinesh gained two more points as she counterattacked the legs of the Swedish for another takedown. She conceded only one point while heavily defending Sofia’s attacks.

Vinesh Phogat beats Sofia Mattsson to enter wrestling quarterfinals at Tokyo Olympics

Vanesa floors Vinesh

Vinesh met her match in Vanesa in the last eight. The Belarusian went ahead through a takedown in the first minute, but Vinesh equalised by flipping her opponent to make it 2-2.

Vanesa moved swiftly sideways to go 4-2 up and enjoy a 5-2 lead at the breather.

Vinesh fought back to effect a takedown. But Vanesa was awarded two points instead.

The Indian won a challenge, and the score was revised to 5-3 from 7-2.

Vinesh tried to catch up, but Vanesa extended her lead to 7-3 off another counter.

With 35 seconds to go, the Indian gave her all but the Belarusian replied by pinning Vinesh on the mat and ending the bout at 9-3.

Anshu Malik's Olympic campaign came to an end when she lost her first repechage round match to Rio Games silver medallist Valeria Koblova of Russia 5-1. The Russian, who led 1-0 after the first period, had to fight really hard to tame the young Indian.

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