Almaty (Kazakhstan), April 16
Dominating the proceedings in a depleted field, Olympics-bound wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Anshu Malik won their maiden Asian Championship titles with comfortable triumphs in their respective final clashes here today.
There was no stopping Vinesh in the absence of the Chinese and Japanese rivals as she cruised to the title without losing a point in the 53kg category. Vinesh has notched up seven podium finishes at the Asian meet over the years, including three silver medals before this edition.
The 19-year old Anshu, who bagged the Tokyo Games quota here a few days ago, was yet again impressive as she underlined her progress in the senior circuit with yet another confident performance in the 57kg category. She won the final 3-0 and was never really troubled by Mongolia’s Battsetseg Altantsetseg, except for a double-leg attack initially in the bout. The Mongolian was mostly busy defending and Anshu kept her lead intact for gold.
In the early rounds, Vinesh won by technical superiority against Mongolia’s Otgonjargal Ganbaatar and Taipei’s Meng Hsuan Hsieh while an injured Hyunyoung Oh from Korea did not turn up for the semifinal. In the final, Vinesh, who had won a bronze in the Delhi edition of the Continental championship last year, moved 6-0 up and finished the bout in style by pinning her rival in the first period itself.
Gold for Divya
The 72kg specialist Divya Kakran, who was a champion in the 2020 edition as well in New Delhi in the 68kg category, won both her round-robin matches to assure herself of the top place on the podium. Her bouts included an 8-5 victory over 72kg defending champion Zhamila Bakbergenova of Kazakhstan to ensure she would come away with the gold regardless of the outcome of her final match of tonight’s night session.
Anshu had reached the final with ease. The 19-year-old won her first two bouts by technical superiority against Uzbekistan’s Sevara Eshmuratova and Kyrguzstan’s Nazira Marsbek Kyzy to reach the semifinal. Her quick moves and tremendous energy had her rivals gasping for breath.
Sakshi Malik, competing in the 65kg category having missed her claim in her pet 62kg category, won the silver medal after losing 4-0 in the final. — TNS, agencies
The main aim was to wrestle the Japan and China wrestlers, but they are not here. If there is a gold medal on the offering, I will take it. I learnt a lot of things despite the tough opponents not here. The most important part is the recovery. I think my recovery between the bouts is not the best right now. Also, I took this competition a little too easy so I was not following the correct process in the lead-up to the tournament — Vinesh Phogat