Asian Championship: Sakshi, Vinesh, Divya settle for silver

Sakshi had to endure the ignominy of being beaten in two minutes and 44 seconds by a technical fall as the Olympic champion Risako Kawai of Japan, ran up a 10-0 lead, in the 60 kg final.

Sakshi Malik went down in the gold medal bout in New Delhi on Friday.   -  PTI

Vinesh Phogat made a remarkable return to the international arena with a silver medal in the 55 kg class of women’s section in the Asian Wrestling Championship at the KD Jadhav arena at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium Complex here on Friday.

It was a fruitful day for the host, as the Indian women did a remarkable job of winning three silver medals and a bronze, to boost India’s tally to three silver and four bronze medals. Sakshi Malik and the surprise package Divya Kakran accounted for the other silver medals.

Actually, it was the toughness of the battle hardened Japanese, two of them Olympic champions, which denied the gold medals for the fighting Indian women.

After having been taken away in a stretcher in the Rio Olympics last year, when she had aspired to win a medal, Vinesh had worked her way back with courage and patience, after the knee surgery.

When so much of noise was being made about Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik moving from the 58 kg to 60 kg class after the selection, Vinesh had done a brilliant job of moving from the 48 kg to the 55 kg section.

The doctor Dinshaw Pardiwala had done splendid job of repairing all the broken knee cartilages of Vinesh who had to be rushed to the Kokila Ben Hospital in Mumbai immediately on return from Rio, with the support of JSW Sports. She endured the rehabilitation till January, and had got back to competition only last month with a domestic ‘dangal’ in Ambala, followed by the selection trials.

In the gold match, Vinesh did fight back to bridge the gap to 4-8 against the superior Japanese, Sae Nanjo.

Vinesh had done a brilliant job of beating Sevara Eshmuratova of Uzbekistan by a technical fall 10-0 in the quarterfinals and Qi Zhang of China 4-0 in the semifinals.

In contrast, Sakshi had to endure the ignominy of being beaten in two minutes and 44 seconds by a technical fall as the Olympic champion Risako Kawai of Japan, ran up a 10-0 lead, in the 60 kg final.

After a steady start in the morning when she won the first bout 6-2 against Nabira Esenbaeva of Uzbekistan, Sakshi was too good as she won by a technical fall, 15-3, against Ayaulym Kassymova of Kazakhstan.

Divya Kakran was pinned down midway through the second round of the 69 kg final by Olympic champion Sara Dosho of Japan.

Divya was impressive earlier, as she beat Chen-Chi Huang of Chinese by a fall and Hyeonyeong Park of Korea 12-4 in the semifinals.

Of course, Ritu Phogat had triggered the medal flow in the evening for the host, when she got a walkover from Yanan Sun of China in the bronze match of 48 kg class.

Ritu had won two bouts in the morning, 11-4 against Narangerel Erdenesukh of MOngolia followed by a technical fall, 10-0 against Yeon-Jin Kim of Korea. However, she outclassed by the eventual gold medallist Yuli Susaki of Japan 9-0 in the semifinals. Incidentally, the young Yui Susaki has an unbeaten record in the international arena in her fledgling career.

Pinki was the only Indian wrestler to go without a medal this day, even though she also had started on a promising note when she pinned down Thi Hang Vu of Vietnam in the first round. Pinki lost by a

technical fall 10-0 to Qianyu Pang of China in the quarterfinals, and did not get a chance thereafter, as the Chinese lost the semifinal.

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