PWL: Sakshi wins, but Delhi loses again

Sakshi Malik won her second bout in as many matches but Delhi lost its second tie on the trot, going down 2-5 to Punjab in the Pro Wrestling League here on Sunday. Delhi is now placed last on the table.

Sakshi won her bout comprehensively 10-0 against Manju Kumari in the 58kg section.   -  Getty Images

Sakshi Malik won her second bout in as many matches but Delhi lost its second tie on the trot, going down 2-5 to Punjab, in the Pro Wrestling League here on Sunday. Delhi is now placed last in the table.

With the competition losing big-name Indian wrestlers every day, however, Sakshi may well end up as the biggest and only popular name left in the fray by the time the second season of the PWL ends 10 days from now.

With Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt already not part of the PWL and the Phogat sisters, Geeta and Babita, pulling out on Saturday, the UP franchise owners insisted that they would return to action soon, but the others claimed that the sisters had pulled out due to lack of fitness and match practice and unlikely to participate any further — the league also lost Delhi’s Bajrang Punia, considered a successor to Dutt in the 65kg category, to injury.

He was replaced by Surjeet Grewal, but the latter was no match for double Olympic medallist and former World champion Toghrul Asgarov of Azerbaijan, losing 6-0 in just 29 seconds after being pinned to the mat. That bout also clinched the tie in Punjab’s favour.

Sakshi herself won comprehensively 10-0 against Manju Kumari in the 58kg section and the Rio Olympic bronze medallist’s fiance Satyavrat Kadian was also victorious, twisting and turning over Krishan Kumar for an easy 14-4 win. The two were the only wrestlers to earn points for Delhi.

The Delhi team also suffered due to the absence of three-time Olympic medallist Mariya Stadnik in the 48kg after the weight category was blocked by Punjab captain Vladimir Khinchegashvili. The Georgian himself won his third bout this season, thumping Pankaj Kumar 8-1 in the 57kg division.

Sangeeta, one of the two Phogat sisters remaining in the competition, was dispatched in three minutes 57 seconds by the unbeaten Nigerian Odunayo Adekuoroye in 53kg, the latter opening up a 15-0 lead to win by technical superiority.

Jitendra edged past Rio Olympic stand-bye Praveen Rana 5-4 in 74kg, with 10 seconds to go, while Vasilisa Marzaliuk won 2-1 against Alina Makhynia in 75kg, both for Punjab.