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Gold medal in Rome shows I am on right track in Olympic year: Vinesh Phogat


PTI, Jan 18, 2020, 4:54 PM IST

New Delhi: Her ‘ground wrestling’ remains a work in progress but Vinesh Phogat on Saturday avowed that a solid gold medal-winning performance in Rome shows that she is on the right track in the Olympic year.

Competing in the first Ranking Series event of the 2020 season, Vinesh downed two tough Chinese rivals on her way to the 53kg gold medal bout, in which she overpowered Ecudor’s Luisa Elizabeth Valverde.

Vinesh said, “Competing at an international event tests our training. It tells us whether we are moving in the right direction or not? So this result shows we are on the right track since it’s a big year, it’ an Olympic year.”

She won by technical superiority against Ukraine’s Khrystyna Bereza (10-0) and China’s Lannuan Luo (15-5) before getting the better of Qianyu Pang (4-2) in the semifinal.

“At this event, I competed with girls I had never wrestled before and against Pang, I was wrestling for the third time. It was important to know if her style has changed or not. These tournaments help in assessing yourself and the rivals too,” she added.

She was not much troubled by her rivals in Rome but Vinesh said she still lacks when it comes to scoring points from ground positions.

With coach Woller Akos, she has been trying to bring in the required changes and has made progress, but she is still a bit far from what they want to achieve.

“We worked on strength and stamina in three months of the off-season. The mat training began only in January. I mostly score points from standing wrestling and not much from ground wrestling. It’s not easy to change but compared to last year’s January, I am much better, so the coaches are happy,” she said.

“In India, I do score points from ground wrestling easily and against anyone but at this level, it’s difficult. The more I compete in these competitions, the better for me. The training camps outside have helped me. Everything has changed since I switched the category,” Vinesh said.

It’s been a year now that Vinesh is competing in the 53kg category after dominating the 50kg weight division. She is gradually getting the belief that this is her category.

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