PWL: Delhi Sultans registers 1st win of season

Sakshi Malik won the decider to help Delhi Sultans edge UP Dangal for its first win of the season.

Sakshi Malik in action at the Asian Games in Jakarta. (representational image)   -  PTI

Rio Olympics bronze-medallist Sakshi Malik tamed Asian Championships gold-medallist Navjot Kaur in a low-scoring decider to help Delhi Sultans secure its first win of Pro Wrestling League (PWL) Season 4 with a 4-3 victory over UP Dangal, here Friday.

The tie was hanging in the balance at 3-3 when Sakshi, who struggled in the 2018 season, took to the mat against her compatriot.

It was Sakshi’s first match of the season and she started off cautiously but managed to prevail in a hard-fought encounter.

Delhi Sultans led 3-1 after Pankaj (57kg), Khetik Tsabalov (74kg) and Pinki (53kg) won their bouts but Irakli Misituri (86kg) and Georgi Sakandelidze (125kg) brought the UP back in the contest with dominating wins.

Pankaj, up against the 2018 World Junior Championships silver medallist UP Dangal’s Naveen in the men’s 57kg category, was not deterred by the reputation of his opponent and maintained his attacking mode all through the bout to win it 7-0.

For the 2017 Asian Championships silver-medallist Sarita it was baptism by fire and she came out unscathed. She had to win the 57kg bout against Katherina Zhydachivska to bring UP back in the tie and she stole one point with an escape in the first round and a takedown in the second was enough to give her a 3-0 win in the end.

The Delhi Sultan’s captain Khetik Tsabalov was trailing Jitender by a point at the break in the 74kg men’s bout. But one take down and two near fall gave the Delhi skipper eight points to take complete control of the proceedings. On the counter attack, Jitender managed to take Khetik down once but ran out of time to go down 3-8 and let the Sultans take 2-1 lead in the tie.

In a major upset of the evening, national championships gold medal winner Pinki turned the tables on the 2018 European Championship silver medallist Vanesa Kaladzinskaya to win 8-7 in an edge of the seat thriller.

Vanesa started on an aggressive note and took down Pinki in the first few seconds of their 53kg category bout to bag two points.

But showing excellent technique, Pinki scored four points. Vanesa edged ahead with one point from an escape and two more from a takedown. But with just few seconds to go on the clock, Pinki pined Vanesa down to score an unbelievable win and put the Sultans 3-1 ahead in the tie.

The men’s 86kg and 125kg category bouts went on expected lines with both the foreigners for UP Dangal — Irakli Misituri and Georgi Sakandelidze — winning their bouts against Praveen and Satender Malik easily to take it to a decider.

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