Geeta Phogat returns to wrestling after a two-year hiatus: Her most memorable moments so far
Geeta Phogat is set to return to the wrestling ring after two years. The star wrestler announced her comeback on social media, much to the pleasure of her fans.
Her return to wrestling was on the cards as she had been posting several fitness videos, showing her hard at work.
Phogat, who last competed in 2019, had taken a break from the sport following her pregnancy. She had her first child, Arjun, in December 2019.
Geeta Phogat is a popular figure in India, especially given that the superhit Bollywood film Dangal, starring Amir Khan, was loosely based on Geeta and her sisters' lives. Geeta's role is essayed in the film by Fatima Sana Sheikh.
As Phogat maps her return to wrestling, let us take a look at some of the defining moments of her career:
2009 Commonwealth Wrestling Championship
She announced her arrival in the international arena by winning gold at the Commonwealth Wrestling Championship which was held in Punjab, in December 2009.
2010 Commonwealth Games
She became the first Indian woman to win gold in wrestling at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 at New Delhi. She beat Emily Bensted from Australia in the final match with a score of 1-0, 7-0, courtesy of a five-pointer.
2012 Summer Olympics
Geeta once again made history when she became the first woman grappler to qualify for the Olympics after winning gold at the Asian Olympic Qualification held in Almaty, Kazakhstan. But she could not produce her best in the marquee event.
She went up against world no. 2 Tonya Lynn Veerbeek and crashed 1-3. After a lull, she tried to pull off a tactical move by trapping her legs, but the experienced campaigner escaped her grip and pinned her down.
“Galti ho gayi (I made a mistake),” Geeta said later. “I was trying to go for a tactical move which did not pay off. She was very strong.”
In the second round, she churned out a point but in the third, her opposition won three points which sealed the match. The experienced Canadian went to the finals which allowed her to get into a fight in repechage against Ukraine's Teytyana Lazareva.
The European put up a splendid show and won the first round 8-0. The match was over in the second round as she could not muster a turnaround.
2012 World Wrestling Championship
Once again she etched her name in the record books by becoming the first Indian woman to win a medal at the World Wrestling Championship. She made a winning start to her campaign by beating Maria Gurova of Russia 3-1.
But she lost 5-0 in the second round to Saori Yoshida of Japan. The Japanese made it to the finals which allowed her to contest in the repechage round. First, she beat Akziya Dautbayeva 3-1 and then won the bronze medal bout 3-0 against Natalya Sinishin of Ukraine.
2012 Asian Wrestling Championship
It was a disappointing start to her tournament as she lost to her Japanese opponent Kanako Murata in the very first round by 5-0. However, she got herself a shot at the bronze medal through the repechage round as Murata reached the finals. She put her best foot forward against Sumiya Erdenechimeg from Mongolia in the bronze medal match and won 3-1.
2013 Commonwealth Wrestling Championships
Geeta won the silver medal in this competition after losing in the finals to Oluwafunmilayo Adeniyi of Nigeria.
2015 Asian Wrestling Championship
Geeta won the bronze medal in freestyle 58kg in this competition. She lost to nine-time world champion Kaori Icho in the first round but beat Thi Loan Nguyen of Vietnam by fall verdict in the bronze medal play-off after coming through the repechage rounds. She won five classification points and four technical points to win the bout convincingly.