Wrestling

Vinesh Phogat in Ukraine to prepare for Tokyo 2020

Indian wrestling ace will be in Kyiv, Ukraine to prepare for the upcoming season that gets underway this month with the Matteo Pellicone Memorial.

By Olympic Channel Writer ·

Vinesh Phogat is leaving no stone unturned in order to ensure she arrives at the Olympics in the best possible condition.

The Indian wrestler has decided to head to Kiev to prepare for the upcoming season.

Phogat will be tuning up in the Ukraine capital before she takes part in her first ranking meet of the new season, the Matteo Pellicone Memorial in Rome on January 15.

The 53kg wrestler is keen to ensure that she leaves no stone unturned as she prepares for the upcoming 2020 Olympics in Tokyo later this year. The move comes on the back of her decision to move base to Bulgaria late last year to work in sub-zero conditions to improve her core strength.

Speaking to the New Indian Express, Phogat’s personal coach Woller Akos said: “The training camp is important as it’s an Olympic year. Ukrainian women’s wrestling team is one of the best in the world. It will give Vinesh an opportunity to train with them and prepare for future events.”

Vinesh Phogat’s fine season

Phogat enjoyed a fine 2019 that saw her perform well in high stakes competitions in the 53kg weight category. Though the 25-year-old lost to a two-time world champion Mayu Mukaida in the initial rounds of the 2019 Asian Championships, Phogat did well to make the most of the repechage round to clinch the bronze in Xi’an, China.

Later at the World Championships in Nur-Sultan, the Indian ace was once again defeated by Mukaida in the Round of 16. But the Indian didn’t let that loss disturb her much as she regrouped in time to not only win a bronze through the repechage round but also seal the Olympic quota.

Having seen his ward find it difficult against quick wrestlers last season, Akos sounded keen to address the issue before they land in Tokyo for the Olympics. “It will be all about wrestling and situational wrestling. She will also undergo dynamic and fast exercises during her stay in Kiev,” the Hungarian said.

While Vinesh Phogat will join the Indian team in Rome for the ranking meet, she will return to Kiev after the competition for further training before returning to India in the last week of January.

World champ Winchester in 53kg

Going in to the 2020 season, Vinesh Phogat will have to ensure that she stays on top of her game if she is to fulfil her Olympic dream.

This after the reigning world champion in the 55kg category - a non-Olympic weight category - Jacarra Winchester of the USA announced that she will compete in the 53g category to have a shot at Olympic glory at Tokyo 2020.

Winchester broke onto the international stage in 2018 when she beat 2017 World bronze medalist Becka Leathers the 2017 World Championships bronze medallist Becka Leathers to book her place in the USA team for the 2018 Worlds.

Though the Budapest event saw her finish a lowly fifth, a year later Winchester ensured that she dominated the field to win the world title in Nur-Sultan. In 2020 though, the American will face tough competition in the 53kg category with Vinesh Phogat, Mayu Mukaida and Pak Yong-mi, the reigning world champion, proving to be a possible hurdle.