Vinesh, teen sensation Anshu clinch maiden gold medals at Asian Wrestling Championship

Almaty, April 16

Dominating the proceedings in a depleted field, Olympic-bound wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Anshu Malik won their maiden Asian Championship titles after comfortable triumphs in their respective summit clashes here on Friday.

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.

Also standing on top of the podium was Divya Kakran (72kg) while Sakshi Malik (65kg) settled for a silver medal, a performance which should boost her confidence after enduring a long wretched run.

India has a rich haul of seven medals from the women’s event as the country won four gold, a silver and two bronze medals in this edition.

Sarita Mor (59kg) had won gold while Seema Bisla (50kg) and Pooja (76kg) settled for bronze medals on Thursday.

Young Sonam Malik (62kg) unfortunately could not compete due to an injury. She also bagged Olympic quota along with Anshu recently.

The 19-year old Anshu was yet again impressive as she underlined her progress in the senior circuit with yet another confident performance in 57kg.

She won her 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.

Earlier in the day, 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.

Vinesh, who had won a bronze in the Delhi edition of the Continental championship last year, moved 6-0 up in the final and finished the bout in style by pinning her rival in the first period itself.

Anshu won her first two bouts by technical superiority against Uzbekistan’s Sevara Eshmuratova and Kyrgyzstan’s Nazira Marsbek Kyzy to reach the semifinal.

Her quick moves and tremendous energy had her rivals gasping for breath.

Up against Altantsetseg, she was leading 9-1 when the referee awarded a ‘victory by caution’ to the Indian. The Mongolian was cautioned thrice.

Competing much better than she was in the recent trials and competitions, the Rio Games bronze medallist Sakshi won her first two bouts by technical superiority and was leading 3-0 against Hanbit Lee when the Korean suffered a knee injury and opted out of the contest.

She began aggressively in the final against Mongolia’s Bolortungalag Zorigt but was pinned on a counter move.

Also doing well was Divya, who competed in the 72kg category. She stunned reigning Asian Champion Zhamila Bakbergenova from Kazakhstan 8-5 en route the final.

She won the final by pinning Korea’s Sujin Park to be only the second Indian after Sarita Mor to win two gold medals at this meet. She had won gold in 68kg in the 2020 edition. PTI

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