Wrestling: Sangeeta Phogat wins her first international medal since protest against WFI chiefJuly 18, 2023
In her first international event since the start of the wrestlers’ protest in January 2023, Sangeeta Phogat won bronze in the Hungary Ranking Series in Budapest on Sunday.
The grappler, who competed in the 59kg category, lost her semi-final bout 6-4 to Poland’s Magdalena Urszula Glodek. But Phogat redeemed herself to seal bronze in the playoff match, beating under-20 champion and Hungarian Viktoria Borsos 6-2.
Although Phogat did not have adequate time to prepare for the tournament, she had accompanied Vinesh Phogat to Tata in Hungary and Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan for the latter’s 18-day international training camp last month as her sparring partner.
Phogat’s start in the Ranking series began with a defeat when she was beaten within 80 seconds by American Jennifer Page Rogers who pinned her down to win the bout by fall.
In the next match against Rogers’ compatriot Brenda Olivia Reyna, the 25-year-old found her rhythm to execute a 12-2 win by technical superiority.
Glodek, the Polish wrestler, was powerful on the counter-attack and Phogat lost a close encounter 6-4. She also had a close match in the bronze medal playoff, but held on to not concede any points in the second period of the match and win her first international medal of the year with a 6-4 win.
In a tweet after her victory, Phogat dedicated the win to “all the fighting women of the world who are fighting against crimes against women”. Phogat, who is married to Olympic medallist Bajrang Punia, has been part of protests against ertswhile Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who was accused of alleged sexual harassment.
The duo, along with Phogat’s cousin Vinesh and Sakshi Malik among others, have been protesting at Jantar Mantar in Delhi since the start of the year. On June 26, they said that they will move their fight against Singh to the courts after the Delhi Police filed a chargesheet based on these allegations against the former WFI chief.