Silver lining for India wrestlers

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 13 May 2017 08:40:38


NEW DELHI,

May 12,

(PTI),

THREE Indian women wrestlers, including Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat, settled for a silver medal each in their respective weight categories at the Asian Wrestling Championship here on Friday

All the three Indians lost to their respective Japanese opponents, who proved to be too strong for them. Ritu Phogat, meanwhile, bagged a bronze medal in women’s 48kg category without even fighting the bout as her opponent Sun Yanan of China opted out of the third-place play off after sustaining an injury.

While Sakshi (60kg) and Divya Kakran (69kg) failed to last the entire six minutes during their gold-medal bouts, Vinesh (55kg) put a good fight before going down.

Making a comeback to the international circuit after the Rio Olympics, Sakshi looked a little rusty when she faced Japan’s Risako Kawai in the women’s 60kg category gold medal bout as she went down to the Rio Games 63kg gold medallist 0-10 in just 2 minutes and 44 seconds.

Sakshi, who created history by becoming the first Indian wrestler to win an Olympic medal last year, could not counter the challenge from the strong Japanese grappler.

Sakshi simply failed to match the agility and speed of her rival. Competing for the first time in women’s 60kg category after jumping up the weight division from 58kg, Sakshi though hardly had to break a sweat en route to the final.

It was a cake walk for the 24-year-old, who got the better of Nabira Esenbaeva of Uzbekistan 6-2 in the quarterfinal and then defeated Kazakhstan’s Ayaulym Kassymova 15-3 in her semi-final bout to cruise into the gold medal round.

“Kawai is a very experienced wrestler and an Olympic gold medallist. It was a really good learning experience for me. I am happy to have bagged a silver after returning to action after Rio Games and marriage. Though I feel I could have done better,” said Sakshi after the medal ceremony.

Vinesh, who also made a comeback after a long injury lay-off, was lagging behind from the very beginning against a strong Japanese competitor Sae Nanjo and ultimately went down 4-8 to settle for the second position in women’s 55kg category.