India at Olympics 2016: The fates of Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat at the Rio Olympic Games had contrasting endings, even though overall, they lost their individual matches to India’s dismay. However, while Sakshi merely lost her match, Phogat suffered a horrific injury to her leg, allowing her Chinese opponent to progress further. However, early in the day, they had everything to fight for as they had won their their respective weight divisions in the earlier round. There were a lot of expectations riding on both these girls as they too to the mat again today.
Vinesh Phogat, 21, had no idea what would transpire later, but in her first match of the day in 48kg category, the Indian easily beat Emilia Alina Vuc of Romania 11-0 and thereby entered the quarterfinals. This must have been one of the worst one-sided matches ever.
On the other hand, Sakshi Malik, 23, was fighting in a losing cause before she effectively turned it around and brought more joy to the Indian fans. Saskhi came back from 0-4 down to deny her rival any more points and eke out a very close 5-4 win. Her opponent was from Sweden, Johanna Mattsson and she advanced to the pre-quarterfinals of 58kg category.
As is her wont, Saskhi made a mess of the first period, but was supreme in the second. She has acquired a habit of doing that. Slowly but surely Sakshi pulled it back, first with a 2-pointer and then point by point. In desperation at the very last moment of the match, Sakshi managed to score a takedown and earn the last point to qualify further.
Vinesh easily dispatched her Romanian opponent, although in the first bout too, she suffered an injury – to her elbow, but it was not serious. She won the bout by flipping her rival to score 4 points and another 2 for a 6-0 lead in first period. All she had to do is sit on her lead thereafter and that is exactly what she did. In fact, she even managed to earn extra points.
However, all was lost in the next round. Sakshi Malik was up against Valeriia Koblova of Russia and surprisingly, there was no fight in the Indian girl. She just gave up the ghost and allowed her opponent to win easily. It was amazing to watch. Losing is one thing not even trying is another matter altogether. India lost 9-2.
With a chance to get into a bronze medal winning position, Vinesh Phogat was facing her Chinese opponent Sun Yanan. But before even getting warmed up properly and clever move to catch her leg led the Indian to fall awkwardly and in the process her leg gave way. She was left screaming in agony and the match ended after she spent 10 minutes on the match with the medics working on her leg. She was crying inconsolably. Her Chinese opponent showed her concern in a very sporting manner. It was the Olympian sporting spirit. But for Vinesh it was curtains.
However, their opponents reach the final, the Indian girls may have a chance to play a medal winning bout.