Sports Other News 07 May 2016 Rio 2016: Female wre ...

Rio 2016: Female wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik book Olympic berths

Published May 7, 2016, 8:04 pm IST
Updated May 7, 2016, 8:28 pm IST
This is the first time two female wrestlers have qualified for Olympics from India.
While Vinesh qualified in the 48kgs category, Sakshi qualified in the 58kg category from the second Olympics qualifier tournament being held in Istanbul. (Photo: Facebook)
 While Vinesh qualified in the 48kgs category, Sakshi qualified in the 58kg category from the second Olympics qualifier tournament being held in Istanbul. (Photo: Facebook)

Istanbul: Ace India wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik on Saturday secured Olympic quota places for the country in their respective weight divisions at the second World Olympic Qualifying tournament here.

Vinesh and Sakshi qualified for Rio Olympics by virtue of reaching the finals of women's 48kg and 58kg respectively on the second day of the competition.


The ongoing competition here is the last qualification event for the Rio Games and only the top two finishers in each weight category are ensured of an Olympic quota place.

With the two quota places, India has so far secured six Olympic berths in wrestling. It was a commendable performance from Vinesh, considering that she managed to put behind the disappointment of getting disqualified at the previous qualifying event in Mongolia for being 400 gm overweight.

Let off with a warning after she had assured the Wrestling Federation of India of acquiring an Olympic berth for the country in her weight category in this tournament, Vinesh fulfilled her promise.


She not only succeeded in bringing her weight under control but also came up with an impressive show en route the final to grab a place for Rio Olympics.

It was a cake walk for Vinesh in the early rounds as she thrashed Nataliya Pulkovska of Ukraine 10-0 in her qualification bout before defeating France's Julie Martine Sabatie 11-0 in the pre-quarterfinal fight.

The 21-year-old Indian continued her dominating show, beating Yumi Lee of Korea 11-1 in the quarterfinal and Evin Demirhan of Turkey 12-2 in the semifinals to reach the gold-medal round rather comfortably.


Sakshi, who replaced Geeta Phogat in 58kg after the veteran wrestler was handed a temporary suspension for forfeiting her bout in the previous qualifying tournament, also justified her inclusion.

Sakshi got the better of Irene Garcia Garrido of Spain 10-0, followed by Zhydachevska Kateryna of Romania 12-2 in the quarterfinals and then beat China's Lan Zhang in a closely-fought semifinal to make the final and book an Olympic berth.

Vinesh was overjoyed at having clinched the coveted quota for the Olympic games, especially after getting disqualified for being overweight in the previous qualification event at Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.


Going to the Olympics has been my dream right from the day I started wrestling. I am glad that I could achieve that today. It wasn't an easy journey. I had to quickly cast aside whatever happened in Mongolia and concentrate on the task at hand," said Vinesh after reaching the final of women's 48kg.

I knew this was my last chance and I think I just put everything I had into making sure that I sealed that quota and proved myself. I had faith in my training and the support that my coaches and the JSW Sports Excellence Program has given me," she added.


A relieved Sakshi also expressed satisfaction at acquiring an Olympic berth.

We had been training quite intensively in Bulgaria and I was making sure that I was mentally prepared for the pressure that this competition brought. I was in good rhythm after my opening bout and I just continued to do what I was doing. It was a matter of keeping my composure in the last minute of my semifinal bout against the Chinese wrestler. I am happy that I managed to hold on," said Sakshi.

Location: Turkey, Istanbul, Istanbul