Before the start of the Poland Open Ranking Series, Vinesh Phogat’s coach, Woller Akos, had said that the competition would be a “preparatory event” for them, and that it would help them assess their progress in the build-up to the Tokyo Olympics.
Akos’ satisfaction was evident after he patted Vinesh Phogat’s back on the back of a gold medal-winning performance in Warsaw on Friday.
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Vinesh Phogat cemented the 53 kg top seed for the Tokyo Olympics, after she beat Ukraine’s Khrystyna Bereza 8-0. It was her third gold medal of the year, with the first two coming at the Matteo Pellicone Rome Ranking Series in March, followed by the Asian Championship in April.
The 26-year-old was unfazed by her opponents throughout the competition. She conceded just two points in three bouts. The improvement in her ground wrestling and timing to initiate a counterattack were visible from the word go in Poland. The world medalist’s coach has been working with her on new ground techniques. The win in Warsaw bears testament to the progress of their training.
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She battled against 2019 world bronze medalist Ekaterina Poleshchukin in her opening bout. It was a tough opening match for Vinesh Phogat, given Ekaterina’s strong defense. But with improved speed and ground wrestling, Vinesh Phogat was an unstoppable force.
She threw a slew of leg attacks against her Russian counterpart. While Ekaterina did manage to evade them, it was only a matter of time before Vinesh Phogat got the better of her. She registered a comfortable 6-2 win
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In the second half, the Indian wrestler took just 75 seconds to beat her American rival, Amy Ann Fearnside, by pinfall. She was leading 6-0 at the time.
Vinesh Phogat’s Tokyo Olympic preparatory plan
Vinesh Phogat will train in Poland until June 18th before she returns to Hungary. She, along with fellow Tokyo Olympic-bound wrestler Anshu Malik (57kg), will train in Budapest until June 30th, after which they will join an international camp in Tallin, Estonia. Earlier in the day, Anshu Malik pulled out of the 57kg competition due to fever.