Triple Commonwealth Games champion Vinesh Phogat suffered a shock 0-7 defeat as she was knocked out by Mongolia's Khulan Batkhuyag in a major upset at the World Wrestling Championship. Phogat, came to Belgrade, after winning gold in India's incredible 12-medal-winning performance at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
But the 10th seed didn’t look the part as she lost her balance in the final seconds and was pinned by Batkhuyag in the women's freestyle 53kg. The Asian Games Silver medallist took a 3-0 lead in the first period before taking down Phogat backwards on the mat in the final seconds to take four points and register the win.
Incidentally, the wrestler Vinesh knocked out in the selection trials, Antim, had defeated the Batkhuyag at the U-23 Asian meet earlier last month. Talking about the tournament, Phogat was a strong medal favourite in the absence of former silver medallist Anshu Malik. She also got a favourable draw after the defending champion Akari Fujinami pulled out because of an injury. But still, she was knocked out in the qualifications.
The Indian wrestlers had more disappointing results as Neelam Sirohi was defeated by two-time world silver medallist Emilia Alina Vuc of Romania 0-10 because of technical superiority in the women's 50kg. Similarly, Koumba Larroque from France defeated Shefali with technical superiority in the women's 65kg. But the Indian was fighting with a knee issue which was heavily tapped.
The Indian contingent for the World Wrestling Championships:
Men’s freestyle: Ravi Dahiya (57kg), Pankaj Malik (61kg), Bajrang Punia (65kg), Naveen Malik (70kg), Sagar Jaglan (74kg), Deepak Mirka (79kg), Deepak Punia (86kg), Vicky Hooda (92kg), Vicky Chahar (97kg), Dinesh Dhankar (125kg)
Women’s freestyle: Ankush (50kg), Vinesh Phogat (53kg), Sushma Shokeen (55kg), Sarita Mor (57kg), Mansi Ahlawat (59kg), Sonam Malik (62kg), Shefali (65kg), Nisha Dahiya (68kg), Reetika (72kg) and Priyanka (76kg).
Greco-Roman: Arjun Halakurki (55kg), Gyanender (60kg), Neeraj (63kg), Ashu (67kg), Vikas (72kg), Sachin (77kg), Harpreet Singh (82kg), Sunil Kumar (87kg), Deepanshu (97kg), Satish (130kg)
Indian fixtures on 14 September:
Women’s qualification rounds 57kg, 59kg, 68kg, 72kg - 2:00 PM IST onwards
Women’s repechage 50kg, 53kg, 65kg, 76kg - 2:00 PM IST onwards
Women’s semi-finals – 57kg, 59kg, 68kg, 72kg - 8:15 PM IST onwards
Women’s medal rounds – 50kg, 53kg, 65kg, 76kg - 9:30 PM IST onwards