Asian wrestling championships: Indian women win three gold and silver

Divya Kakran (68kg), Pinki (55kg) and Sarita (59kg) ensured gold medals for India while Nirmala Devi won the silver (50kg) in the Asian Wrestling Championships.

In a stunning display of power wrestling, Divya won all her bouts in the 68kg by fall. (File Photo)   -  PTI

The absence of Chinese and North Korean wrestlers was expected to impact the quality of the women’s section at the Senior Asian Championships here and India was the biggest beneficiary, winning three golds and a silver on Thursday.

With Japan also sending a largely second-string squad – barring former world champion Mayu Mukaida -- the Indians were favourites for medals. Barring the 50kg, the other four weight categories in action on the day had seven or fewer competitors, forcing the organisers to conduct bouts in Nordic (round-robin) format.

Asian Games bronze medalist Divya Kakran was the first to ensure a gold in the 68kg, winning all four of her bouts in the morning session. More impressively, she won all by pinning her opponents.

“I had to win by fall to get five points from all my bouts because the Japanese was winning all her bouts by big margins, so I took the risk even though my coach told me I didn’t have to.”

She admitted the absence of China made a difference. “Yes, it did benefit but if you have just five wrestlers, it becomes tough because you have to fight everyone and win big,” she added.

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In the evening session, Pinki (55kg) and Sarita (59kg) added to the gold tally but not before being pushed by their Mongolian opponents. While Pinki won 2-1 in a largely defensive bout that saw all three points being scored through the opponent’s passivity, Sarita had to dig deep in the final 15 seconds for a 3-2 victory.

“I already had a slight elbow injury and it got aggravated a bit in the morning so I wanted to be cautious. Also, I am simply happy to win my first medal, that too gold, in the competition,” Pinki said.

On her part, Sarita said she was confident even when Mongolian Battsetseg Altantsetseg took a crucial point with 21 seconds left to level 2-2, lifting her out for the winner.

Nirmala Devi won silver after going down 2-3 to Japan’s Miho Igarashi in the 50kg. “I tried my best but she was very strong and also had very good defence. I need to work on my leg defence a lot more now ahead of the Olympic qualifiers,”  she admitted.

Kiran was the only disappointment for the host on the day, crashing out of the medal rounds in the 76kg after losing two of her three bouts in the morning session.

The results:

50kg: 1. Miho Igarashi (JPN), 2. Nirmala Devi (IND), 3. Valentina Ivanova Islamova (KAZ) and Dauletbike Yakhshimuratova (UZB); 55kg: 1. Pinki (IND), 2. Dulguun Bolormaa (MGL), 3. Marina Zuyeva (KAZ); 59kg: 1. Sarita (IND), 2. Battsetseg Altantsetseg (MGL), 3. Madina Bakbergenova (KAZ); 68kg: 1. Divya Kakran (IND), 2. Naruha Matsuyuki (JPN), 3. Delgermaa Enkhsaikhan (MGL); 76kg: 1. Hiroe Minagawa Suzuki (JPN), 2. Aiperi Medet Kyzy (KGZ), 3. Elmira Syzdykova (KAZ).

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