New Delhi: Eight months and 25 days, that’s how long Vinesh Phogat had waited to get onto the mat after her horrific injury on August 18, 2016 which cut short her Olympic dream as she lay there writing in pain on the mat.

On her comeback, Vinesh fought hard and ended up with a silver medal, losing her Asian Wrestling Championships 55-kg freestyle final 8-4 to Sae Nanjo of Japan.

Silver for comeback girl Vinesh / Screengrab: United World Wrestling

Phogat looked extremely calm for somebody who was wrestling her first major final after such a lengthy injury lay-off. Both combatants started the final in pensive fashion, as grapples were reversed and grips were easily broken. But it was Nanjo who took the early initiative as she kept reaching for Phogat’s leg and pinning the Indian upon toppling her.

When Vinesh’s first point did arrive in the fifth minute by course of a huge takedown, it was accompanied by a huge cheer from the home crowd. But Nanjo held firm and even though Vinesh did claw back two more points with half a minute to go, the Japanese was rock solid in her defence as Phogat lost the bout 8-4.

While her opponent from Rio, Yanan Sun from China lost to 17-year prodigy Yui Sasaki of Japan in the 48-kg section, Phogat advanced to the final of the 55-kg, assuring herself of her fourth medal in the Championship, after two bronze medals in the 2013 and 2016 editions and a silver in the 2015 tournament.

This was Phogat’s highest ever weight class as she was asked to not cut down on weight following her injury. Sevara Eshmuratova of Uzbekistan was brushed aside in the semifinal as Phogat won by a 10-0 margin, courtesy a technical fall.

Her semifinal was much more closely fought as Qi Zhang of China reversed quite a few grapples from the 22-year old and held firm for the first couple of minutes before Phogat finally landed her first points. She followed those two points with two more as Zhang was defeated 4-0 en route to the final.