Vinesh Phogat’s debut at a ranking series ended with a silver medal finish at the Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov 2019 tournament after suffering a 2-9 defeat in the final on Sunday.
The 24-year-old had moved up to the 53 kg weight category for this tournament from her preferred 50 kg and after an impressive performance on Saturday, she looked off colour in the final against Qiaun Pang of China.
After taking an early 2-0 lead, Phogat tried defending it throughout the first period. Pang tried attacking Vinesh’s legs but the Indian was quick to defend everything.
That until the last minute. Pang caught Vinesh off guard and completed a takedown in the danger zone. She then exposed Vinesh for danger position thrice to take six points in a row to lead 8-2.
Vinesh’s coach Woller Akos challenged the referee’s call but it was denied and Pang awarded another point. The 9-2 score remained till the end of the six minutes.
On Saturday, Phogat had defeated world silver-medallist Sarah Hildebrandt in the semi-finals with a pin. That was her second pinfall of the day in three bouts.
The Asian Games gold medallist, however, accepted that adapting to a new weight category brings new challenges for her.
“I have to work on my upper body strength as my opponents are stronger,” she told United World Wrestling after the semi-final win.
“I have to know my opponents and how they wrestle. That will be very important and that is why I participated in this tournament.”