Vinesh Phogat at UWW World C’ships: Time of Bout & Main Rivals
All the details from Vinesh Phogat’s 53kg category at the Wrestling World Championships.
The women’s freestyle events at the Wrestling World Championships get underway on Tuesday, 17 September, in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan with India’s biggest medal hope Vinesh Phogat in contention.
Vinesh has moved up to the 53kg category and will have her qualifying round as well as the semi-finals on Tuesday. The repechage round and the final of the category will take place on Wednesday.
Vinesh moved up from the 50kg to the 53kg category at the start of the season and it has been a fruitful year for her with five finals and three gold medals at Yasar Dogu, Grand Prix of Spain and Poland Open.
No Indian woman has ever won a gold at the Worlds and Vinesh, though unseeded, is India’s best bet this time round. The top 6 wrestlers in each category also book a qualifying spot for the Tokyo Olympics.
Vinesh’s preliminary bout against Rio bronze medallist & 2009 world champion Sofia Mattsson will take place around 11:30 am IST on Tuesday and the semi finals will start around 4 pm IST.
The American was last year’s runner-up at the World Championship and started this season as the second-ranked wrestler in the world but moved up one spot following gold medal finishes at the Ivan Yariguin and the Pan-American Championships. She also had a bronze-medal finish at the Dan Kolov.
Without Okuno, who would have been the second seed, PANG Qianyu (CHN) will now occupy the second seed. Pang fell to Okuno in the second round but picked up back-to-back wins and won the bronze medal with a 2-1 win over Katarzyna KRAWCZYK (POL).
With world number 2 and reigning World Champion Haruna Okuno pulling out of the tournament, China’s Qianyu will now occupy the second seed.
Canada’s Diana Weicker will be the third seed after making her second consecutive appearance at the World Championships a season ago. She won a bronze last year, bettering the 12th place finish in Paris in 2017. This season, she has won the German Grand Prix and picked up a few bronze medals.
A 55kg regular, Mayu Mukaida from Japan has dropped a weight category to compete in an Olympic category. She won a World Championship gold in the 55 kg event last year and will be vying for her third medal at the event. In April, Mukaida won a silver at the Asian Championships.
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