Defending champion Anshu Malik failed to repeat her last edition’s fabulous performance. The Haryana girl had to be satisfied with a silver medal as she went down in the final against reigning world champion (55 kg) Japan’s Tsugumi Sakurai in the 57 kg freestyle women’s category at the Asian Wrestling Championships in Mongolia’s Ulaanbaatar on Friday.
Another Indian woman wrestler, Radhika, bagged a silver medal in the 65 kg category, and Manisha clinched a bronze medal in the 62 kg division.
Swati Shinde and Nikki, the two other Indian wrestlers, failed to make it to the medal round on Day 4 of the competition. Both wrestlers faltered in their respective group stages. Swati finished sixth in the 53 kg division, while Nikki remained in fourth place among five contestants in the 72 kg division.
Earlier, Sarita Mor (59 kg) and Sushma (55 kg) had to be satisfied with bronze medals. The Indian women wrestlers did well in the championship and concluded their campaign with five medals. Unfortunately, no one was able to bag the yellow metal.
On the final day of the competition, Anshu raised the hope of a gold medal when she overpowered Uzbekistan’s Shokhida Akhmedova 10-0 in her opening bout. Anshu, the 2021 Oslo World Championships runner-up, was looking in tremendous touch and piped the former silver medallist (62kg); Mongolia’s Bolortuya Khurelkhuu, by 11-0 and cemented her place in the final.
She started her final bout with confidence and was looking to surpass her Japanese opponent, Tsugumi Sakurai. But luck was not with her. The Japanese wrestler got the better of her ‘by fall’ in the final.
However, luck deserted the Indian when Japan’s Sakurai got the better of her ‘by fall’ in the final.
Anshu’s father, Dharamvir Malik, said, “We will work on her weaknesses ahead of the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.”