From Phogat talent pool, another woman on top
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Another girl from Balali, Haryana, in fact another girl from the same family, has risen to prominence at the ongoing National Wrestling championship. This time it was the turn of Vinesh, Mahabir Singh's third daughter to break into the top fold of female wrestling in India with a gold in the 51 kg category.
Balali's most famous name is Geeta Phogat, the eldest of three siblings, who won bronze at the 2012 World Championship and also became the first ever woman wrestler to win qualification for the Olympics this year. Her other sister, Babita, too has won bronze at the 2012 World championship.
Since Geeta had chosen to sit out of the nationals, Vinesh, the youngest of the three, was given a chance to shine. And she did not disappoint. Under the watchful eyes of Geeta, who took up the coach's seat near the mat, the 18-year-old quickly went on to dismantle Haryana state mate Neha Rathi, who had won medals at every national championship since 2001. The 28-year-old had previously won silver at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and bagged the gold at the 2012 Commonwealth championship in Melbourne.
Being the most experienced wrestler in the draw, Neha's brief in the final was simple ówait for the youthful lunge and counter attack. But it was Vinesh that made this strategy stick with nimble footwork in her 3-0, 3-0 demolition of Neha. Apart from the opening seconds in the first period, Neha was never in control. Inside the first minute, Vinesh had successfully foiled and counter attacked to bag her first points. After rolling Neha once again she pocketed the first period.
The second period was more comfortable for the youngster as she retained her focus. Quickly swiveling away from a dangerous leg hold, Vinesh pinned Neha with a firm grip on the waist to get her point. Couple of foiled attacks from Neha late in the second period only added to Vinesh's points tally. This was the first-ever medal in a senior tournament for Vinesh, who had won junior national gold in the last two editions in 2010 and 2011.