Vinesh Phogat returned to the wrestling mat after a long injury layoff in style by winning the women’s 50kg national trials for the 2024 Asian Championships and the World Olympic qualifiers on Monday.

This development comes just days after India’s 2020 Tokyo Olympics medallists Bajrang Punia and Ravi Dahiya lost their respective trials and bowed out of the 2024 Paris Olympics qualification race.

Phogat, who usually competes in the 53kg, cut down to 50kg for the trials with Antim Panghal having already won a quota in her pet event.

The 29-year-old Phogat defeated Shivani 11-6 in the trials after trailing 1-4 in the women’s 50kg final to book her spot in the Indian team.

Phogat’s win, however, was not short of any drama. She had earlier delayed the women’s 50kg and 53kg trials by more than two hours by demanding a written assurance from authorities that a final trial will be conducted in the 53kg, where Panghal has earned a quota, before the team for the Olympics is finalised, as per a PTI report.

She also requested to be able to compete in two weight classes – 50kg and 53kg, on Monday and the Indian Olympic Association’s ad-hoc committee allowed it.

However, as per the rules laid down by the United World Wrestling, a wrestler can compete in only a single weight class during a day.

“Each contestant deemed to be taking part of his/her own free will, and responsible for himself/herself, shall be allowed to compete in only one weight category: the one corresponding to his weight at the time of the official weigh-in,” Article 7 of the world body reads.

Phogat lost in the semi-finals of the 53kg 0-10 on technical superiority to Anju.

It now remains to be seen if Phogat would continue in 50kg if she wins a quota place for the 2024 Paris Olympics in the category or if she decides to challenge Panghal for the 53kg place in the final trials.

Apart from Phogat, Anju (53kg) Anshu Malik (57kg), Mansi Ahlawat (62kg), Nisha Dahiya (68kg), and Reetika (76kg) won the trials on Monday.