Vinesh Phogat wins gold in Matteo Pelicone wrestling event to reclaim top rank, Bajrang Punia through to final

Vinesh Phogat defeated Canada's Diana Mary Helen Weicker 4-0 in the 53kg final.

FP Sports March 07, 2021 10:23:36 IST
Vinesh Phogat wins gold in Matteo Pelicone wrestling event to reclaim top rank, Bajrang Punia through to final

File image of Vinesh Phogat. Image: Twitter @Phogat_Vinesh

Rome: Living up to the expectations, star Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat grabbed the 53kg gold medal along with world No 1 rank while Bajrang Punia booked his spot in the final of the men's 65kg event the Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series event, on Sunday.

It was the second gold medal for Vinesh in as many weeks with a dominant win as the 26-year-old World bronze medallist blanked Canada's Diana Mary Helen Weicker 4-0 in the title clash.

Vinesh scored all her points in the first period and held on to her lead in the second to ensure a top-of-the-podium finish.

#TOPSAthlete wrestler @Phogat_Vinesh continues her positive return to competitive action as she wins the gold medal in women’s 53 kg at the #MatteoPellicone #WrestleRome ranking series. She did not drop a point in any of her five matches in this tournament. #Wrestling pic.twitter.com/RA6t0f12e1

Vinesh had won a gold medal in Kiev last week and this performance would give her the belief that her preparations for the Tokyo Olympics are on the right track.

The Indian had entered the event as world number three but is back to world number one by jumping 14 points. The Canadian was ranked as low as 40 before the tournament but is now just behind Vinesh at number two.

Vinesh did not concede a single point at this tournament, winning two of her three bouts by pinning her rivals while getting injury walkouts in the other two in the eight-woman field.

Sarita Mor had won a silver in the 57kg on Saturday.

For Bajrang, first up was Selim Kozan, a former cadet world champion from Turkey. The Indian easily crushed him by a 7-0 scoreline. Kozan made several attacks, especially from the right, but the Indian defended well.

Bajrang scored off with takedown and gut wrench moves.

He faced stiff competition from America's Joseph Christopher McKenna but prevailed 6-3 in the semi-final.

Bajrang seemed to have improved upon his leg defence yet the American thrice got hold of his right leg. Bajrang, though, ensured that McKenna does not take advantage of the grip.

In the fast-paced bout, Bajrang took break with a 4-2 lead, scoring points with a takedown.

The American narrowed the gap to 3-4 late in the second period with a push out but Bajrang sealed the issue with a two-point throw.

He will now face Mongolia's Tulga Tumur Ochir, who prevented an all-Indian final by defeating Rohit 4-0 in the other 65kg semi-final. Rohit will now fight for bronze.

In the 74kg quarter-final, Narsingh Pancham Yadav began with a comfortable win by technical superiority against Italian Finizio but lost to 2012 Olympic champion and four-time World champion Jordan Ernest Burroughs in the semi-final.

He will also fight for bronze. for the Olympics which she secured at the World Championships in 2019.

 

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