Vinesh Phogat Wins Senior Nationals Gold on Return To Wrestling After 15 Months

#VineshPhogat has been out of action since September 2022, but she won a gold medal on her return.

2 min read

After a hiatus of over a year, Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat made a stunning return to the sport – winning a gold medal at the Senior National Wrestling Championships organised by the Indian Olympic Committee-appointed ad-hoc committee, in Jaipur. Competing in the 55kg category, Vinesh defeated Madhya Pradesh’s Jyothi 4-0, securing a victory by fall.

Vinesh, who represented the Railways Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) in this competition, has not featured on the mat since September 2022’s World Championships in Serbia.

Last year, she played an instrumental role in organising a protest against the erstwhile Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, against whom allegations of sexual harassment were levied, with the hearing currently ongoing. Notably, Vinesh was seen receiving the gold medal today (4 January) from Sakshi Malik, who also participated in the protests against Singh.

Initially slated for a comeback in July 2023 at the Polyàk Imre Memorial Ranking Series in Hungary, the two-time Asian Games medallist had to withdraw her participation only a few days before the tournament, owing to fever and food poisoning.

A knee injury – sustained during a training session – forced her to pull out of the Asian Games as well, with the 29-year-old from Haryana undergoing surgery in Mumbai, back in August.

Having made the ideal comeback to the sport, Vinesh will now eye an Olympics quota, despite the weight category she competed in at the National Wrestling Championships – 55kg – not being a part of the Olympics roster.

Antim Panghal is currently the solitary Indian wrestler to have earned a quota for the 2024 Paris Olympics, courtesy of her bronze medal triumph at the 2024 World Wrestling Championships, held in Serbia.

Indian grapplers will have the opportunity to book their Olympics place through the 2024 Asian Qualification Tournament, which will be held from 19 to 21 April in Kyrgyzstan’s Bishkek. That tournament will be followed by the World Qualifiers, scheduled to be held in Turkey’s Istanbul from 9 to 12 May.

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