Vinesh Phogat will head to her first major event since the Tokyo Olympics debacle while Sakshi Malik is back in the mix after booking her berth for the Commonwealth Games 2022.
Vinesh, Sakshi book Commonwealth Games berth after emerging victorious in trials (Reuters Photo)
Top wrestling stars Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik booked their tickets for the Commonwealth Games 2022 after emerging victorious in the trials conducted by the Wrestling Federation of India in Lucknow on Monday, May 16.
Sakshi Malik finally found a way to defeat nemesis Sonam Malik and sealed her place while Vinesh Phogat did just enough against Antim to emerge winner in the 53kg category trials here on Monday.
Sonam, who recovered from a left leg injury, had made it a habit of beating the 2016 Olympic bronze medallist at the WFI trials but the day belonged to Sakshi, who beat the young wrestler 8-1.
Later in the final, Sakshi outplayed Manisha 7-1 to ensure that she will be on the plane to Birmingham, where the Games will begin from July 28.
Manisha had ousted Sangeeta Phogat, wife of Bajrang Punia, 7-5 in the semifinals.
VINESH BACK IN THE MIX
Vinesh, another star who has been struggling right from the Tokyo Games, began well as she did not concede a point till the final.
In the final against Antim, she was trailing 0-3 but found a two-point scoring move to reduce deficit. Antim got a bit defensive and tried to maintain distance. In this attempt, she fleed the mat and Vinesh challenged referee’s decision of not awarding a point.
She won the challenge and since hers was the last scoring point, she won the trials.
It will be a first big-ticket event after her Tokyo Games debacle, where she made an early exit after entering the event as the favourite. What followed her was a harrowing time where she was suspended by WFI for indiscipline during the Games.
After WFI lifted the suspension, Vinesh found the going tough due to mental health issues. She pulled out of the World Championship trials in August last year and has not competed since.
Expectedly, Anshu Malik (57kg), Divya Kakran (68kg) won their trials. Pooja Gehlot (50kg) and Pooja Sihag (76kg) claimed the other berths in the Indian team. (With PTI inputs)