Games & medals
Rio de Janeiro 2016
|#10||Wrestling||Flyweight, Freestyle (≤48 kilograms)|
Vinesh VINESH biography
Regarded as one of the finest wrestlers to emerge from India in recent years, Vinesh Phogat also has a strong wrestling heritage behind her on the mat.
Vinesh has followed in the footsteps of her cousins Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari and comes from one of India's most renowned wrestling families, being introduced to the sport at a very early age by her uncle Mahavir Singh Phogat.
Though Geeta was slowly establishing herself on the national stage when Vinesh Phogat started wrestling, similar barriers and setbacks had to be overcome.
Vinesh had to contend with opposition from the villagers who considered wrestling to be a man’s sport and vouched for women to be restricted to their houses. At the age of just nine, Vinesh also had to cope with the untimely death of her father.
Amid the hardship and pain, it was Vinesh Phogat’s uncle Mahavir who proved to be the guiding light as the young wrestler found refuge in the sport.
After a shining junior career, Vinesh won her first major international title at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, claiming gold in the 48kg category.
More medals would follow the Indian ace built towards her maiden Olympic experience.
Vinesh sealed her quota place for Rio 2016 by winning her Olympic qualifying event in Istanbul and was riding high on confidence going into the Games.
But after winning her way through to the quarter finals, Vinesh's dreams of winning a medal for her country at the age of 21 would come crashing down.
Facing China's Sun Yanan in the last eight, Vinesh would suffer a dislocation of her right knee midway through the first period.
The Indian was stretchered off the mat in tears, her anguish and pain all too apparent, her medal prospects shattered.
But this was not the first time Vinesh would have to display her resilience, and turned the upset into a motivating force.
"Every time I go out on the mat for a match, that injury motivates me to win," she admits.
Gold medals at both the 2018 Commonwealth Games and Asian Games were proof of her determination to get back on top, before the Indian wrestler decided to jump up to the 53kg category for the 2019 season.
Phogat was unfazed by the transition, bagging bronze at the Asian Wrestling Championships before clinching maiden World Championships medal at Nur-Sultan.
Her performance there secured her place at the Tokyo Olympics, where the 25-year old will look for redemption after those bitter memories of Rio de Janeiro.