New Delhi: Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat was on Tuesday pushed out of the title race by reigning champion Mayu Mukaida of Japan at the World Championship here.
It was a second consecutive defeat for Vinesh against the Japanese this season after losing to the two-time World champion at the Asian Championship in China.
Vinesh has Commonwealth Games and Asian Games titles to her name but is yet to win a medal at the Worlds.
However, with Mukaida managing to reach the final, Vinesh was presented with yet another shot at a medal as she will now take on former World Championships bronze medallist Yuliya Khalvadzhy of Ukraine.
A win over her, as well as a win over last year’s runner-up Sarah Hildebrandt, will put Vinesh in the bronze medal bout versus Greece’s two-time World Championships medallist Maria Prevolaraki and also fetch her a highly-coveted Tokyo Olympics qualification.
In another Olympic category, Seema Bisla (50kg) lost her pre-quarterfinal 2-9 to three-time Olympic medallist Mariya Stadnik. But with the latter progressing into the summit clash, Seema got another golden chance at a medal and a 2020 Olympic berth.
For Seema to take the bronze, she needs to first overcome Nigeria’s Miesinnei Mercy Genesis, then gets the better of Yasar Dogu silver medallist Ekaterina Poleshchuk before she can enter the bronze medal contest with China’s Rio Olympic bronze medallist Sun Yanan.
In non-Olympic categories, Komal Gole was too defensive against Turkey’s Beste Altug and lost her 72kg Qualification bout 1-4, while Lalita was outplayed 3-10 by Mongolia’s Bolortuya Bat Ochir in 55kg.
Both Lalita and Komal are now out of the championship since Bolortuya and Altug later lost their respective quarterfinals.
Placed in an extremely tough 53kg bracket, Vinesh made a dominating start by outclassing Rio Olympic bronze medallist Sofia Mattsson, winning 13-0 in her opening round.
However, in the much-anticipated clash against World No. 2 Mukaida, Vinesh could not be her usual attacking self and lost 0-7.