India’s Geeta Phogat began her Olympic campaign on a dismal note as she lost her first round bout against world number two Tonya Lynn Verbeeek of Canada in the women’s freestyle 55kg category at ExCel Arena here today.
The 23-year-old Geeta,gold-medallist in the 2010 Commonwealth Games,went down to the Canadian who recorded a 3-1 victory.
Both grapplers started cautiously in the first period but Verbeek — who turns 35 next week — managed to eke out a point towards the end of the period,though the Indian was in an advantageous position.
In the second period,Geeta raised her performance and won the round 1-0 to level scores 1-1 after the first two periods.
But Verbeek — a teacher by profession — relied on all her experience to turn the table on the Indian with good technique which gave no chance at all to Geeta.
Geeta can still make it to the recharge stage if Verbeek,a bronze medallist in Beijing Games in 2008 and silver winner in 2004 Athens Games,succeeds in her march to the final.
“I fought hard and gave it all. She is a very strong wrestler and has a lot of experience,so it is not easy to defeat her,” Phogat said after her bout.
“I made a few mistakes in the first round. I had a clinch but still conceded that point. At this level,you have to get the point when you are in an advantageous position,” she said.
“I have to improve to be able to counter such high quality wrestlers. I will gain experience from all this and come back stronger,” she said.