Tough draw for Vinesh Phogat, pitted against Rio bronze medallist in campaign opener

If the 26-year-old Indian grappler wins the first round, she will meet either Belarusian Vanesa Kaladzinskaya or Olympic debutant Andreea Beatrice Ana from Romania.

Published: 04th August 2021 11:37 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th August 2021 11:37 PM   |  A+A-

Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat (File Photo | AP)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Wrestler Vinesh Phogat (53kg), the country's brightest medal prospect at the Tokyo Olympics, was handed a tough draw on Wednesday. The No. 1 seed in 53kg weight category will open her campaign against Rio Olympic bronze medallist Sofia Magdalena Mattsson of Sweden on Thursday morning. Mattsson was world champion in 2009 apart from being a four-time silver medallist at the event and four-time European champion.

If the 26-year-old Indian grappler wins the first round, she will meet either Belarusian Vanesa Kaladzinskaya, a two-time world champion, or Olympic debutant Andreea Beatrice Ana from Romania in the quarterfinals.

The probable opponents in the semifinals will be Russian Olga Khoroshavtseva/Jacarra Gwenisha Winchester from USA/Laura Herin Avila from Cuba/Chinese Pang Qianyu. The first wrestler is 2019 Worlds bronze medallist while Winchester is reigning world champion in 55kg. Chinese wrestler Pang won her second straight bronze in 2019 Worlds. She too has beaten Vinesh in the past.

Deepak, Anshu remains in medal contention
As was expected, Deepak Punia (86kg) capitalised on a good draw handed to him and made it to the semifinals. He, however, lost the last-4 bout against American David Morris Taylor, the 2018 world champion and reigning Pan-American champion.

Nicknamed 'the Magic Man', Taylor won the semifinal 10-0 in the first period on technical superiority. It is learnt that a knee injury recurred ahead of the semifinal bout restricting Deepak's movement.

Earlier, the 22-year-old Deepak had defeated Nigeria's Ekerekeme Agiomor, the African championship bronze medallist 12-1 on technical superiority and got past China's Zushen Lin 6-3 in the quarterfinal. He will now fight for bronze on Thursday against the winner of the repechage round between Ali Shabanau and Myles Nazem Amine.

Meanwhile, Iryna Kurachkina from Belarus, who defeated India's Anshu Malik in her first bout, reached the 57kg final giving the Indian grappler a chance to compete for bronze via repechage round. She will face Valeria Koblova from Russian Olympic Committee in the repechage round and if she wins, she will meet Evelina Georgieva Nikolova from Bulgaria in the bronze medal bout.



Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp