Star Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat on Sunday pinned 2017 world champion Vanesa Kaladzinskay to grab a gold medal at the Outstanding Ukrainian Wrestlers and Coaches Memorial tournament in Kiev, and returned to the mat in style after the coronavirus-forced break.
Up against the world No 7 Belarusian, it was not an easy bout for the world No 3 Indian as the two grapplers kept testing each other with consistent attacks in the sea-saw battle in which Vinesh prevailed.
Vinesh opened up a 4-0 lead in the 53kg final with a throw which she initiated with a left-leg attack but Kaladzinskay made it 4-4 with a brilliant move of her own.
Vinesh took the break leading 6-4, adding to her score with a take down, 10 seconds before the break.
The Belarusian put pressure on the Indian with another four-point throw and open up a two-point lead but with 25 seconds to go, Vinesh’s move fetched her four more points for a 10-8 lead. She got into a position from where she pinned Kaladzinskay to ensure herself a gold in some style.
In the semi-final on Saturday too, Vinesh came up with a superb move in the semi-final against Andreea Ana, who she also pinned.
Since the coronavirus halted all competitions last year, it was the first competition for Vinesh, who is the only Indian woman wrestler to have qualified for the Tokyo Games so far.
The next tournament for Vinesh is UWW ranking series event – Matteo Pellicone in Italy, where fellow Tokyo Qualifiers Bajrang Punia and Ravi Dahiya will also be seen in action from March 4-7.
(With PTI inputs)