Day 12 at Rio seemed promising for the Indian contingent as grapplers took centre stage today trying to keep up with the hype.
For the last 10 days, India’s best medal bets have bowed out of the tournament without a podium finish. With each passing day, the expectations are getting meager and outcome, heartbreaking. Now, with only last six days left for the sporting extravaganza to conclude, India’s medal dream seems to be tearing apart.
Vinesh Phogat, the youngest wrestler to have qualified for Olympics and one who has earned a name for herself at par with the likes of Narsingh Yadav and Sushil Kumar opened women’s wrestling campaign today.
Phogat advanced to the round of 16 after receiving a bye in the first round. She played Emilia Alina Vuc of Romania, bronze medalist at the European Championship earlier this year.
Phogat remained in complete control throughout the bout taking an early lead in the game. The Romanian grappler hardly could match up to her game and this led the scoreboard touching a lead of 11-0 by the Indian.
Winning the bout with an exceptional margin, Phogat stormed into quarter-finals facing China’s Sun Yanan. Just as the previous bout, Vinesh maintained an early lead of 1 point but fate had something else slithering her way. A twist and turn of Phogat’s right leg by Yanan turned the tables around, taking away the lead from her rival by 2-1.
This not just put Phogat- Silver medallist of the Asian Wrestling Championship in 2015 lagging behind but also unfortunately cost the Indian her debut tournament as she retired from the game owing to leg injury. She laid on the mat crying in pain while Sun Yanan was declared the winner ‘due to injury’.
A strong-headed wrestler who time and again announced she was here for nothing less than the Gold met a tragic end to her Rio dreams which indeed would be more painful than the injury itself.
If the bad omen continues, it will be the first time since 1992 that India will have to return medal-less at Olympics.