Jakarta: Vinesh Phogat battled to glory and gold as she floored her her Japanese opponent Yuki Irie 6-2 in the final of the freestyle 50-kg to help India to its second gold from the wrestling competition of the Asian Games here on Monday.
Vinesh has come a long way from her Incheon days. The bronze medal winner in Korea picked up the thread from from where Bajrang Punia left last evening to end day two on Golden note again.
However, the attention on the second day at the JCC Assembly Hall was more on Sakshi Malik, the Rio Games bronze medallist, to provide the spark in 62-kg event with Pooja Dhanda and Pinki.
But they all disappointed losing their first rounds in their weight categories and were left to keep their fingers crossed with the hope of getting one last opportunity in repechage rounds.
Fortunately for Sakshi, Pooja and even Sumit in men freestyle 125-kg, they did get their chances.
Vinesh was cautious to begin as she first tried to size up her Japanese opponent who took her own sweet time to open the attack. It helped the Indian as much and Vinesh was quick to grab the opening that Yuki provided as she went for the first leg clinch, getting four points in quick success as the clock ticked away.
However, in the second period both wrestlers were taking no chances which not only annoyed the spectators but also forced the Iranian referee, who cautioned Vinesh. He then awarded the first point to the Japanese.
With five points in her pocket,Vinesh had to hold on to her self for more than a minute and in the process lost another caution point to her rival. But with desperation taking the better of the Japanese, she went a final assault with the Indian having a better grip. Ultimately, the Indian gained the last two points to romp home winners.
"It became close in the second period," admitted Vinesh. "But I knew had to hold on to the last few seconds with a good lead because my opponent was looking for an opening to attack. I am happy to go through the distance," said Vinesh on winning her first Asiad gold medal.
In fact, Vinesh went from strength to strength as she blanked out her Uzbek rival, Dauletbike Yakshimuratova, with an authoritative 10-0 score in the semifinals. The Uzbek was no match to the back-to-back CWG gold medallist as she forced the referee stop the bout in 75 seconds.
Such was the force and technical superiority which the Indian showed while attacking, giving not even an iota of a chance to her opponent.
Earlier in the quarterfinals, Vinesh sent Korean Hyungjoo Kim packing with a 11-0 verdict--she led 6-0 in the first period and added another five in 97 seconds to complete the rout. However, against her Chinese opponent in the opening round Vinesh was a little slow to begin and just about managed two points in the first period.
But she upped her ante in the second to garner six more even as she gave away two caution points to Sun Yanan for inappropriate attacks. Nevertheless, it didn't make any dent into her confidence as the Indian comfortably put the right step, leading up the final.