Asian Games 2018: 10 things you need to know about India's latest gold medallist Vinesh Phogat

Vinesh Phogat in action during the 2018 Asian Games
Vinesh Phogat in action during the 2018 Asian Games

The action continued on the second day of the 2018 Asian Games as the Indian contingent was seen taking part across various disciplines throughout the day. One athlete, in particular, stole the limelight for her achievement -- 23-year wrestler Vinesh Phogat, who clinched the gold medal with her win in the summit clash of the 50kg freestyle wrestling category.

Vinesh, who is the cousin sister of the superstar wrestling sisters Geeta and Babita Phogat, came into the tournament with a lot of expectations on her shoulders and proved her mettle, blazing through her qualifier round, before registering a comfortable 11-0 victory against South Korea's Kim Hyungjoo in the quarter-finals.

Once the talented wrestler had her eyes fixed on the prize, it was all a matter of time before she joined the league of her sisters as she hardly broke a sweat in her semi-final fixture to win in 75 seconds. In the final, she emerged victorious over Japan's Yuki Irie to loud cheers from a jam-packed crowd at the stadium.

Earlier, Bajrang Punia was the first Indian to clinch a gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games and with this win, Vinesh Phogat became the first Indian woman to win a gold medal at the Asiad.

Here are ten things to know about the 23-year old:

#1 Vinesh Phogat was born in Balali, Haryana on the 25th of August 2018. After losing her father at a tender age of nine, she was brought up and moulded by the great Mahavir Singh Phogat, father of the wrestling sisters, Geeta and Babita Singh Phogat.

#2 Her first taste of success came when she contested in the 2013 Asian Championships held in New Delhi, where she clinched the bronze medal in the 51kg category, alongside North Korea's So Sim-Hyang.

#3 Coming from a famous family was not a straightforward approach for Vinesh, as she had to battle brickbats thrown by her village community on her, her father and uncle for bringing her into the competitive wrestling arena.

#4 Following a bronze medal in the Asian Championships, Vinesh Phogat went on to do better at the 2013 Commonwealth Wrestling Championships, where she clinched the silver medal in the 51kg category.

#5 In 2014, Phogat represented India at her first Commonwealth Games and struck gold in her first ever attempt at the 48kg category, registering a 3-1 victory against home favourite Yana Rattigan to fuel her career.

#6 Phogat's gold-medal victory in the Commonwealth Games boosted her chances at the 2014 Asian Games, where she lost in the semi-finals but won the bronze medal match against Mongolia's Narangerel Eredenesukh to win her first ever Asian Games medal.

#7 One of the biggest moments of Phogat's career was the career-threatening injury that she picked up, during the 2016 Rio Olympics. While attempting a leg hold on Chinese counterpart Sun Yanan in the quarterfinals, Phogat badly twisted her knee and with that lost out on an opportunity to clinch the gold medal. With teary eyes, Vinesh was carried off the ring, uncertain of any possible return for at least weeks to come.

#8 In the 2018 edition of the Commonwealth Games that were held at Gold Coast, Australia, Vinesh Phogat went on to win the gold medal in the 50kg category adding to her previous tally of a bronze medal in 2014.

#9 Before becoming a professional wrestler, Vinesh Phogat had found interest in tennis and was looking to carve out a career in tennis before wrestling caught her attention.

#10 With a gold medal from the Commonwealth Games already in her kitty, the 23-year old has now set her eyes on clinching a gold medal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

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Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee
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