Vinesh Phogat is an Indian wrestler who comes from a famed wrestling family of Phogats. Geeta and Babita Phogat are her cousin’s sisters. Vinesh Phogat won various medals in Commonwealth Games and became the first Indian woman wrestler to win a gold medal in Asian Games (2018). Recently, she became the first Indian woman wrestler to win two medals at the World Championships. Let’s dig deeper into the life of wrestler Vinesh Phogat, her wrestling journey, achievements, etc.
|28 (as of 2022)
|Mahavir Singh Phogat/ Woller Akos
She started wrestling at the tender age of nine. Coming from a family of star wrestlers, it became a way of life for her.
Her uncle Mahavir Singh Phogat has taken the role of her father, coach, and guide. In a land dispute, her father got murdered. She started training with her sister and cousins.
She won a bronze medal in the 2013 Asian Wrestling Championships and a silver medal in the 2013 Commonwealth Wrestling Championships. The year 2014 announced her arrival on the wrestling stage with a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games. She won a lot of fame and recognition after this amazing feat.
Then, she won a bronze at the Asian Games 2014 in Incheon. A knee injury in the Rio Olympics disheartened her, as well as the entire nation. Not the one to be held back because of setbacks, she bounced back stronger and made us proud by winning a gold medal at 21st Commonwealth Games in 2018. In 2018, she won gold at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games.
Also Read | Sakshi Malik Biography
It is simply impossible to talk about wrestling without discussing the Phogat sisters. We can call them the first family of wrestling in India. In a state infamous for female foeticide and gender equality, Mahavir Singh Phogat has set an example, that’ll inspire the entire country. He trained four of his daughters, along with two of his brother’s daughters, and revolutionized wrestling in India. The inspiring journey of this wrestling family reached the masses through the Aamir Khan movie – Dangal.
The two elder sisters Geeta and Babita have gained recognition on the international stage and are commonwealth medalists. In 2018, their cousin Vinesh joined them in the Commonwealth feat. Now let us glimpse into the life of this rising star from the Phogat family.
Vinesh Phogat Family
- Born in a small village called Balali in Haryana, India, a career in wrestling is predestined for Vinesh. She has a belief that she is meant for great things in life. She couldn’t be truer. Life has been far from ordinary for this girl, who has grappled with some very hard personal setbacks. Vinesh has proven, at every stage of her life, that she is a fighter. This unbreakable spirit and determination make Vinesh, a truly special wrestling champion in the making.
- After her father, Rajpal Phogat, was murdered in a land dispute, her uncle Mahavir Singh Phogat took her, and her sister Priyanka, under his wings. He was a father as well as a coach for both girls. They started training with their cousins, Geeta, Babita, Ritu, and Sangita.
- The family faced a lot of resistance from the village patriarchs. All of them were ostracized for going against the norm. Despite all this, Mahavir Singh Phogat bravely continued training all his daughters. The result of his determination is visible to the entire world now. After Babita and Geeta achieved success, perceptions started changing in the village. Today, the family is not only receiving adoration and encouragement, but the villagers are also sending their daughters for training.
- The exposure she received at an impressionable age shaped Vinesh’s character. Starting at the very young age of 9, wrestling became a way of life for her. Her eldest cousin, Geeta is a huge support system for her. She still makes it a point to call her before every competition.
Vinesh Phogat – The Journey
Asian Wrestling Championships – 2013
- She beat Nanami Irie of Japan in the first round.
- Unfortunately, she lost to Tatyana Amanzhol of Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals.
- As Tatyana Amanzhol went on to qualify for the finals, Vinesh got a chance to fight in the repechage round.
- She went on to win the bronze in the women’s freestyle 51 kg category by defeating Tho-Kaew Sriprapa of Thailand.
Commonwealth Wrestling Championships – 2013
- Vinesh participated in the freestyle 51 kg category in the wrestling championship.
- Unfortunately, she lost to Odunayo Adekuoroye of Nigeria in the finals and had to be satisfied with a silver medal.
- Coming at an early stage of her wrestling career, this silver gave Vinesh a lot of confidence and motivation to win the gold, which she soon did.
Also Read | Bajrang Punia – The Bahubali of Indian Wrestling
Commonwealth Games 2014: Vinesh Phogat
- In the CWG 2014, held in Glasgow, Vinesh represented India in the women’s freestyle 48 kg category.
- She was very commanding in the quarterfinals and beat Rosemary Nwerke of Nigeria.
- In the semifinals, she ousted Jasmine Mian of Canada.
- The final obstacle for the coveted gold was Yana Rattigan of England. Despite her opponent being a favorite, Vinesh defeated her and won the gold.
- It was a proud moment for not only the Phogat family, or the people of Haryana, but also the entire nation!
Asian Games 2014
- Vinesh defeated Yongmi Pak from the People’s Republic of Korea in the top 16 round.
- It was Dauletbike Yakhshimuratova of Uzbekistan, who got easily ousted by our champion in the quarterfinals.
- At that moment her journey was cut short by Japan’s Eri Tosaka. However, Vinesh qualified for the bronze medal bout.
- She grabbed the opportunity to secure a medal by destroying her opponent, Narangerel Eredenesukh of Mongolia.
- Vinesh Phogat proudly came home with the bronze medal in the women’s freestyle 48 kg category.
The Olympics 2016 Heartbreak
- Vinesh qualified for the 2016 Summer Olympics after beating Iwona Matkowska of Poland in the qualifying tournament held in Istanbul.
- The whole nation was excited to see its daughter in the world’s most prestigious sporting extravaganza.
- Unfortunately, her journey was cut short in the quarterfinals by a career-threatening knee injury.
- She has a dream of bringing home the first Olympic gold medal in wrestling was shattered at that very instant. However, her spirit remains intact and she has promised to bring the gold Olympics.
Commonwealth Games 2018: Vinesh Phogat
- Vinesh Phogat won the gold medal in at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and made the entire country proud! She achieved this incredible feat in the women’s 50 kg freestyle wrestling at the 21st edition of the games held in Gold Coast, Australia.
- Topped the standings at the end of the Nordic format.
- Showed technical superiority and beat Miesinnei Genesis of Nigeria and Rupinder Kaur of Australia.
- Eventually, it came down to just one opponent standing between her and the gold medal. It was Jessica MacDonald from Canada. The grappler got the best of her opponent and succeeded in bringing home the gold.
Vinesh Phogat at the Asian Games 2018
After winning the Commonwealth Games gold, Vinesh went on to clinch the Asian Games gold at the 50 kg wrestling event. She, therefore, became the first Indian woman to achieve the feat.
Vinesh Phogat: 2019 Asian Wrestling Championships
Vinesh won the bronze medal in the 2019 Asian Wrestling Championships by defeating World Championships bronze medalist Qianyu Pang of China.
She also won gold in the 2019 Yasar Dogu International by defeating Ekaterina Poleshchuk of Russia.
Vinesh at Poland Open Wrestling Tournament
Vinesh Phogat clinched her third consecutive gold in the women’s 53 kg category after winning the Poland Open wrestling tournament in Warsaw in 2019. After a year, Vinesh again secured the gold medal in the women’s 53 kg event at the 2021 Poland Open.
2019 World Wrestling Championships
Vinesh Phogat clinched a maiden World Championship medal in the women’s 53 kg category after defeating Maria Prevolaraki in the Bronze medal match. Vinesh became the first Indian wrestler to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 on account of a top-six finish.
Outstanding Ukrainian Wrestlers and Coaches Memorial tournament- 2021
Vinesh Phogat beat 2017 world champion Vanesa Kaladzinskay and clinched the gold medal in February 2021 at XXIV Outstanding Ukrainian Wrestlers & Coaches Memorial tournament, in Kyiv, Ukraine.
2021 Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series event
Vinesh Phogat won the gold medal with a dominant win in this event and secured the top rank in her category. Vinesh defeated Canada’s Diana Mary Helen Weicker by 4-0.
Commonwealth Games 2022
Vinesh Phogat clinched the gold medal in the Women’s Freestyle 53 kg category in the Commonwealth Games 2022, Birmingham. She defeated Chamodya Keshani Maduravalage of Sri Lanka in her last group bout in the event.
2022 World Wrestling Championships
Vinesh won bronze in the women’s 53kg category at the World Wrestling Championship 2022 in Belgrade. Vinesh Phogat became the first Indian woman wrestler to win two medals at the World Championship.
Achievements of Vinesh Phogat
- 2018 Asian Games, Jakarta – Gold
- Commonwealth Games 2018, Gold Coast, Australia – Gold
- 2018 Asian Championships, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan – Silver
- 2017 Asian Championships, New Delhi, India – Silver
- 2016 Asian Championships, Bangkok, Thailand – Bronze
- 2015 Asian Championships, Doha, Qatar –Silver
- Commonwealth Games 2014, Glasgow, Scotland – Gold
- Asian Games 2014, Incheon, South Korea – Bronze
- Asian Championships 2013, New Delhi, India – Bronze
Vinesh Phogat and Wrestlers’ Protest
In January 2023, Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia along with wrestlers Sakshi Malik and others have alleged that the president of WFI, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, has been sexually exploiting women wrestlers. The wrestlers had requested the intervention of the Prime Minister and the Home Minister for his removal. But, after the formation of an oversight committee to probe the matter, the protest was withdrawn. However, the wrestelers have renewed their protest on April 23 after seven women wrestlers, including a minor, tried to lodge a complaint against the federation, but the police denied to register an FIR.
However, later with the judgment of the Supreme Court to permitted the police to register two FIRs against the WFI chief. The first FIR reported against him was under the POCSO Act, for sexual harassment offenses against a minor, and the second one was registered pertaining to the complaint filed by the other women wrestlers.
Vinesh Phogat is an Indian wrestler who competes in the freestyle wrestling category. She was born on August 25, 1994, in Balali village, Haryana, India.
Vinesh Phogat has several major achievements to her name, including winning a gold medal at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, a gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games, and a bronze medal at the 2019 World Wrestling Championships. She also qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and won a bronze medal in the 53 kg category.
Vinesh Phogat is known for her aggressive wrestling style and quick reflexes. She specializes in takedowns and has a strong defense against her opponents’ attacks.
Vinesh Phogat comes from a family of wrestlers. Her cousin sisters Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari are also accomplished wrestlers who have won several medals for India at international competitions. Vinesh’s uncle, Mahavir Singh Phogat, is a well-known wrestling coach who has trained several wrestlers in his family.