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Vinesh Phogat set to make a comeback at Istanbul meet

The Indian wrestler has been out of action since the Tokyo Olympics. Bajrang Punia, Ravi Kumar Dahiya and Deepak Punia are also likely to compete in Turkey.

After six months, Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat will return to competitive action at the United World Wrestling (UWW) Yasar Dogu international competition in Istanbul, Turkey from February 24 to 27.

Vinesh Phogat hasn’t competed since the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where she bowed out in the quarter-finals of the women’s 53kg category.

After giving the national championships a miss, Vinesh Phogat withdrew midway from the world championships selection trials after suffering from blurred vision. She later underwent an elbow surgery in September.

Vinesh Phogat was originally scheduled to return at the Matteo Pellicone ranking series tournament in Rome, Italy. But the event, initially scheduled from February 4 to 7, was moved to June because of COVID-19.

A former world No. 1 and world championships bronze medallist, Vinesh Phogat will move up to the 55kg division for the Istanbul meet, according to The Times of India.

Other top Indian wrestlers expected to take part in the Turkey championships are Tokyo Olympic medallists Ravi Kumar Dahiya and Bajrang Punia.

Deepak Punia, who missed out on bronze in Tokyo in the 86kg weight class, is also likely to be seen in action.

While Bajrang Punia is slated to compete in the usual 65kg category, Ravi Kumar Dahiya is another Indian likely to bulk up for the Istanbul meet. Dahiya will shift from the 57kg to the 61kg weight division.

Indian wrestlers have a busy season lined up in 2022. After the competition in Istanbul, the wrestlers will gear up for the Asian wrestling championships in April.

The Commonwealth Games in July-August and the Asian Games in September follow. Vinesh Phogat is the reigning Asian and Commonwealth Games champion in women’s 50kg.

By Ali Asgar Nalwala

Website : olympics.com

Photo : olympics.com

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