PWL: Haryana Hammers books final berth

Haryana Hammers defeated UP Dangal 5-4 to set up a final clash with Punjab Royals.

Haryana Hammers’ Helen Maroulis (orange) takes down UP Dangal’s Vanesa Kaladzinskay.   -  Special Arrangement

Haryana Hammers defeated UP Dangal 5-4 to set up a mouth-watering clash against Punjab Royals in the final of the Pro Wrestling League, here on Thursday. It will be a repeat of the final of the second season.

China’s Olympic medallist Sun Yanan won the ninth and deciding bout - her third straight victory over Vinesh Phogat - to throw UP Dangal out of the competition. She won 4-1 in a tense and bitter semifinal that ended in tears. The tie was a close affair; the two teams gave it their all and took it all the way to the wire.

Hammers jumped into an early lead; Rio Olympics gold medallist Vladimir won the 57kg men’s opening bout. He was stunned in the first period though, with Nitin Rathi taking the first point. Vladimir, however, turned Nitin over to snatch five points in the second round. He still had to be on his guard as Nitin looked for points with his aggression. The Georgian eventually won 6-3.

Zsanett Nemeth, however, promptly restored parity for Dangal by notching a hard-fought 3-1 win over 2017 Commonwealth Championship silver medallist Pooja Sihag in the 76kg women’s category. Zsanett raced to a 3-0 lead in the first round itself and decided to defend in the next to hold on to her lead.

Sensational win

World Championship silver medallist Khetik Tsabolov then pulled off a sensational victory over Bekzod Abdurakhmonov to put Dangals in the lead. It was a fascinating 74kg tussle that had the crowd on its feet. Uzbekistan’s Bekzod took an early 2-0 lead but his attempt to pin Khetik backfired, and he ended up conceding six points. Khetik took advantage of the change in fortunes to add two more points to take a healthy 8-2 lead. Bekzod tried to fight back but he gave away too much ground to force a recovery.

Reigning World Championship leader Helen Maroulis then scored a fine victory to take Hammers to a 3-1 lead.

Helen beat Vanesa Kaldzinskaya 5-4; Rio gold medallist Jamaladdin Magomedov and local star Geeta Phogat won the next two bouts to level the tie 3-3 for Dangal. Jamaladdin easily overcame India’s national champion Sumit Malik 7-0 in the 125kg clash while Geeta had to ward off a desperate attempt from compatriot Sarita Mor.

In a battle between Indians, Roublejit Singh Rangi got the better of Mandeep to put Hammers back in the lead. Dangal stormed right back into the tie, with Bajrang Punia downing a valiant Harphool Gulia 5-3.