Wrestler Vinesh Phogat will be representing India in the women's 53kg freestyle at Olympics 2021. The 26-year-old will begin her Tokyo Olympics campaign when she faces Sofia Mattsson of Sweden in Round 1.
Vinesh Phogat is a World Championship bronze medalist. She also has two gold medals from the Commonwealth Games, as well as gold and bronze medals from the Asian Games.
Vinesh Phogat has dominated the Asian Championships, winning one gold, three silver, and four bronze medals.
After the disappointment of the Rio Olympics, Vinesh Phogat has emerged as a strong medal contender. Ahead of her opening bout, here are her strengths and weaknesses.
Vinesh Phogat's strengths
Vinesh Phogat has a wealth of experience. In the 17 major competitions she has competed in, the Indian wrestler has returned with a medal in each one except the 2017 World Championships.
Vinesh Phogat has worked hard to polish her skills. She is now one of the most technically superior wrestlers in the world and has worked on her mental skills as well.
All these factors combine to make Vinesh Phogat a very dangerous wrestler. But there are chinks in her armor as well.
Vinesh Phogat's weaknesses
Vinesh Phogat could feel the pressure of the Olympics. Five years ago, she suffered a near career-ending injury in her quarter-final match against Sun Yan of China.
But since then, Vinesh Phogat has made a strong comeback. She was so impressive in her comeback that in 2019 she was nominated for the Laureus World Comeback Of The Year.
It was a first for an Indian athlete. So all eyes will be on Vinesh Phogat once she is on the wrestling mat.
Also, India's female athletes have done well at the Tokyo Games. PV Sindhu and Mirabai Chanu have won bronze and silver, respectively. Lovlina Borgohain has assured herself of a bronze medal too.
India's women's hockey team has been impressive with their semi-final run. Vinesh Phogat is also expected to go the distance, so there is double pressure on her.
If Vinesh Phogat can cope with the pressure of expectations, she could complete her comeback with an Olympic medal around her neck.