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Asian Wrestling Championships: Antim Panghal to Compete for Gold, Four Other Indians in Bronze Bouts

Antim Panghal-web

Young Indian wrestler Antim Panghal easily won her way into the 53kg title match after playing an excellent counterattacking game against her opponents, while Anshu Malik will compete for bronze after failing to penetrate Sae Nanjo of Japan’s defense on Wednesday.

The 18-year-old Panghal, whom last year became the first Indian woman wrestler to win the U20 world championship, easily defeated the 53kg field without giving her opponents a single point for their techniques.

She defeated Aktenge Keunimjaeva of Uzbekistan 8-1 in her semifinal match, and the only point she dropped was a warning.

With a takedown maneuver that she started with a left-leg attack, Panghal joined in. Several times, the Uzbeki had the Indian in a headlock, but both times, not just Panghal was able to escape with ease. She also used lightning-quick counterattacks to keep growing her lead.

Panghal started her campaign with a commanding “win by fall” over Singaporean Hsiao Ping Alvina Lim before defeating China’s Li Deng 6-0 in the quarterfinal.

The formidable Japanese Akari Fujinami, the 2021 world champion and someone who hasn’t lost many matches since beginning to compete at the senior level in 2020, will now challenge her for the gold in the competition.

Anshu Malik, who won the silver medal at the 2021 world championship and is currently the U23 world champion, was predicted to perform well in the 57 kg class.

Nanjo started hostile, grabbing Malik’s left leg, but the Indian was able to free himself. Malik was given a time limit for her inaction and was penalized a point for failing to score within the allotted time. The Japanese had a 1-0 advantage at the end of the scoreless first session.

Nanjo also forfeited a point in the second session for being inactive, but she quickly grabbed Malik’s left leg and violently turned it, leaving Malik grinning in pain and striking the mat while pleading with the Japanese to release the leg.

The damage was done when the referee stopped the fight. Malik’s maneuver was weakened by the injury, and the Japanese won 5-1.

If healthy, Malik will now compete for the bronze medal against Erdenesuvd Bat Erdene of Mongolia.
For the bronze medals, Manisha (65 kg), Reetika (72 kg), and Sonam Malik (62 kg) will compete.

In her quarterfinal, Sonam was defeated by Mongolia’s Orkhon Purevdorj, however, because her opponent advanced to the championship match, Sonam recovered.

Greco-Roman wrestlers have taken home four of India’s six medals won thus far in the sport.

Tuesday saw Priya (76 kg) win bronze and Nisha Dahiya (68 kg) win silver.

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