When Geeta Phogat’s Gold at CWG 2010 Became a Watershed Moment

Geeta Phogat changed the course of history at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. 

Updated
Olympic Sports
2 min read
File photo of Geeta Phogat.
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At the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India’s star wrestlers Sushil Kumar (then one-time Olympic medallist) and Yogeshwar Dutt clinched gold medals in the 66 kg and 60 kg category respectively, but there was an Indian woman who dominated the conversation at that time.

Geeta Phogat, the daughter of Mahavir Singh Phogat, was competing in the freestyle event (55 kg). Little did we know that she would go on to become the first Indian woman to win a gold medal in wrestling at the Commonwealth Games.

Quarter-final bout vs Non Evans

Geeta Phogat went past her first hurdle of the event by defeating Wales’ Non Evans by fall. Phogat won the bout 2-0.

Semi-final bout vs Lovina Edward

The then 21-year-old faced her toughest assignment in the semi-final against Nigeria’s Lovina Edward. Geeta, while desperately trying to score a point, lost the first round 0-1. However, she fought back and won the next two rounds 1-0, 4-0.

The semi-final against the Nigerian was difficult. After winning that, I was sure of getting the gold medal.
Geeta Phogat

Final bout vs Emily Bensted

Phogat didn’t face much trouble in the final bout against Australia’s Emily Bensted. She breezed to a 3-0, 7-0 victory.

After CWG 2010, Phogat went on to become the first Indian woman wrestler to qualify for the Olympics after winning a gold medal at the Wrestling FILA Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament at Almaty, Kazakhstan in April 2012. She represented India in the 55 kg category in the 2012 Olympics.

However, due to injuries, Phogat has not been able to maintain consistency in her performance.

But, after she made it to the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games, women’s wrestling took a huge turn in India. India had three representatives in women’s wrestling at the Olympics in 2016 – Sakshi Malik, Babita Kumari and Vinesh Phogat. Malik went on to become the first-ever Indian woman to win a medal (bronze) at the Olympics.

In fact, Malik bagged a place in the Olympics after the Phogat failed to qualify for the Summer Games.

Geeta Phogat has missed out on a chance to compete at this year’s Commonwealth Games as well. She went down to Pooja Dhanda in the trials for the 57 kg category.

However, Geeta Phogat’s gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 will always remain a watershed moment for India’s women’s wrestling.

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