Reetika Hooda became the first ever Indian female wrestler to become the U-23 World Champion on Friday.
Reetika defeated USA’s Kennedy Blades in the summit clash in Tirana, Albania, to achieve the historic feat. The wrestler switched from 72kg to 76kg before entering the championship and beat the former junior world champion.
The Indian was on top right from the start and entered the break with a 3-2 lead. She won the final 9-2.
Reetika also won bronze in the U-20 World Championship held last year and in the senior Asian Championship that took place in April 2023.
Reetika began her campaign with a 9-1 victory over Nodoka Yamamoto of Japan in the qualification round. In the quarterfinals, she defeated Rita Talismanovaa by virtual superiority (16-6) before registering a 5-0 win over Ukraine’s Anastasiya Alpyeyeva in the semifinal.
In the women’s 72kg event, Jyoti began with a crushing 9-0 win over Ukraine’s Ityna Zablotska in the quarter-finals and followed that up with an impressive 7-0 victory over Turkey’s Bukrenaz Sert.
In the final, she is up against 19-year American Amit Elor, who is also yet to concede a point in the championship.
Three Indians are in bronze medal contention.
Reena will fight for 57kg bronze against Canada’s Mia Katherine Friesen while Bhagyashree Hanumant Fand (62kg) will take on Irina Kuznetsova of Kazakhstan.
Monika (65kg) is set to clash with American Macey Ellen Kilty.
- With inputs from PTI
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