Triple Commonwealth Games champion Vinesh Phogat failed to put up a fight and was defeated by Mongolia’s Khulan Batkhuyag 0-7 in a major upset at the World Wrestling Championships in Belgrade on Tuesday.
Fresh from winning a gold in India’s stupendous 12-medal winning show at the CWG Birmingham, the 10th seeded Vinesh looked jaded and lost her balance in the final seconds to be pinned by the Asian silver medallist in the women’s freestyle 53kg.
Batkhuyag took a 3-0 lead in the first period before slamming the former world bronze medallist onto the mat in the final seconds to take four points and complete a dominating win.
Incidentally, Indian junior wrestler Antim, who was knocked out by Vinesh in the selection trials, had beaten the Mongolian at the U-23 Asian meet earlier last month.
In the absence of former silver medallist Anshu Malik, Vinesh was a strong medal favourite as she also got a favourable draw after the pullout of reigning champion and Japanese sensation Akari Fujinami (injury). However, she was knocked out in the qualifications.
Vinesh does have the repechage route in store, as she faces Zhuldyz Eshimova of Kazakhstan on Wednesday.
India had more disappointment in store as Neelam Sirohi lost to two-time world silver medallist Emilia Alina Vuc of Romania 0-10 via technical superiority in the women’s 50kg.
French wrestler Koumba Larroque, who was fighting with a highly strapped knee, pinned Shafali with a technical superiority in the women’s 65kg.
Squad: Barring Vinesh Phogat (53kg) and Sarita Mor (57kg), the women’s contingent is fairly young. Neelam Sirohi (50kg), Sushma Shokeen (55kg), U-23 Asian champion Mansi Ahlawat (59kg), U-20 Worlds silver medalist Sonam Malik (62kg), Shafali (65kg), U-23 world bronze medallist Nisha Dahiya (68kg), U-20 Worlds silver winner Reetika (72kg) and Priyanka (76kg).