vinesh phogat
Vinesh Phogat is a strong medal contender for India. Pictured: Actor Salman Khan, wrestler Vinesh Phogat and composer AR Rahman during the sendoff ceremony of Indian Contingent for Rio Olympics 2016, organised by Indian Olympic Association, in New Delhi on July 18,2016.IANS

India has sent their strongest women's wrestling contingent to the Olympics and with the D-Day having arrived, it needs to be seen what the 'pehalwans' from Haryana are capable of at the grandest stage. Vinesh Phogat, 21, and 23-year-old Sakshi Malik will be seen in action at Rio on Wednesday.

While Vinesh, a gold medalist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, takes on Emilia Alina Vuc of Romania in the women's 48 kg freestyle wrestling category, Sakshi, a bronze medalist at the 2015 Asian Championships, is set for a crunch challenge against star wrestler Johanna Mattsson of Sweden in the women's 58 kg freestyle wrestling category.

Read how Sakshi won the bronze HERE

Both the bouts take place at the Carioca Arena 2 in Rio de Janeiro.

Get the story on Vinesh Phogat's unfortunate injury HERE

Vinesh is seen as the biggest medal contender for India from women's wrestling in the Rio 2016 Olympics. She has age by her side along with brute strength and tenacity to perform to the best of her abilities.

Geeta Phogat, the first women wrestler from India to make it to the Olympics in 2012, has praised her cousin and reiterated that of the three wrestlers participating at Rio, Vinesh remains the biggest medal prospect.

"Although all three of them are good, given Vinesh's performance in the qualifiers in Istanbul, which she won, I'll pick her as the brightest medal prospect," Geeta told the Times of India. Vinesh's strength is her technique and her ability to attack - she is a relentless attacker and her defence is also good."

Vinesh's opponent Emilia, 22, is relatively a newbie in the competition and the Indian could be expected to have a rather comfortable time in her pre-quarters match and progress to further rounds, which also takes place on Wednesday.

Sakshi, meanwhile, will be expected to have a tough time against two-time European Championships gold medalist Mattsson in the qualifications round.


Women's 58kg freestyle wrestling: Sakshi Malik vs Johanna Mattsson is scheduled for a 6:35 p.m. IST start on Aug. 17.

Women's 48 kg freestyle wrestling: Vinesh Phogat vs Emilia Alina Vuc is scheduled for a 7 p.m. IST start on Aug. 17.


Women's 58kg freestyle wrestling: Sakshi Malik vs Mariana Cherdivara-Esanu is scheduled for a 7:50 p.m. IST start on Aug. 17.

Women's 48 kg freestyle wrestling: Vinesh Phogat vs Sun Yanan is scheduled for a 8:05 p.m. IST start on Aug. 17.

Where to watch live

India: TV: Star Sports Network, DD National. Live streaming: Hotstar.

UK: TV: BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Four. Live streaming: BBC Red Button.

USA: TV: NBC Sports. Live streaming: NBC Olympics.