Defeating Japan’s Yukie Irie by 6-2 in the freestyle 50 kg category, 23-year-old Vinesh Phogat won the gold for India at the Asian Games 2018 held in Jakarta, Indonesia. With this win, Vinesh becomes the first female wrestler to bag a gold for India in the history of Asian Games. This is the second gold for India in the Asian Games 2018 after Bajrang Punia won the men’s freestyle 65 kg.
Vinesh led the match 4-0 initially before losing some control over the game. In the penalty of 30 seconds allotted, Yukie stood firm and added two points to her tally. It was in the last three seconds where Vinesh scored two more points from a take down and took the final tally to 6-2.
This is the second time Vinesh has won the gold for India in this year. Prior to Asian Games, she had won in the women’s 50 kg freestyle at the Commonwealth Games 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia. She is also the only female contestant of Asian Games from India to win the medal for the second time. In 2014 at the Asian Games held in Incheon, South Korea, Vinesh had won a bronze for India in 48 kg category freestyle, reports India today.
With her first big win, it’s indeed a special moment for Vinesh as she joins the winning legacy of the Phogat sisters. In 2013 Vinesh won her first international medal, a bronze, at the Asian Wrestling Championship in the freestyle 51 kg category, reports The Indian Express.
Born in Balali, Haryana, Vinesh was trained by her uncle Mahavir Singh Phogat, father to the Phogat sisters, Geeta and Babita, the inspiration for all the Phogat sisters. Their story has been featured in the Hindi film Dangal.
Not only Vinesh but also her cousins, Geeta Phogat, Babita Kumari, and Ritu Phogat have won gold for India at Commonwealth Games in 2010, 2014, 2016. After her stellar performance in the Asian Games, Vinesh will represent India at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.