Three on three - Sonam Malik beats Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik again to retain national wrestling title

Sonam Malik scored her third win in as many meetings over Sakshi Malik to stamp her dominance in the 62kg category and win gold in the senior national wrestling championship.

Sonam (R) had first caused a flutter when she beat Sakshi at the selection trials for the Rome Rankings Series and Asian Championships last year but failed to win a medal in either.

Sonam Malik's dominance over Olympian Sakshi Malik continued as she registered her third win in as many face-offs against the latter to not just stamp her authority in the 62kg but also move closer to the Olympic dream on Day One of the 23rd Women’s Wrestling National Championships here.

Representing Haryana, the 18-year old Sonam beat Sakshi, India’s maiden women’s wrestling Olympic medallist, 7-5 to retain the national title.

It was her third win over the senior pro in as many meetings since last year, proving the previous ones were no fluke and signifying a passing of baton, as it were.

READ: Sonam Malik downs Sakshi again, makes cut for Olympic qualifiers

Sonam had first caused a flutter when she beat Sakshi at the selection trials for the Rome Rankings Series and Asian Championships last year but failed to win a medal in either.

She then pinned Sakshi at the selection trials for the Olympic Qualifiers in February 2020 before the latter was postponed. Always a slow starter, Sonam beat Manisha 3-2 in the quarterfinal, thrashed Bhagyashree 11-0 in the semifinals and was in her elements by the time she got on the mat for the final.

While Sakshi scored early points, Sonam played the waiting game before going for the attack, relying on a stronger defence which she had worked on in the last few months.

The win ensures a spot for Sonam at the Rome Rankings event and will make her favourite at the selection trials for the Olympic qualifiers in March. Also claiming the title easily was Anshu in the 57kg, the only Indian medalist from the Individual World Cup in Serbia in December.

The results:

50kg: 1. Minakshi (Har), 2. Henny Kumari (Har), 3. Swati Shinde (Mah) and Kirti (Del)

55kg: 1. Anju (Har), 2. Bunty (Del), 3. Indu Tomar (UP) and Sushma Shokeen (Del)

57kg: 1. Anshu (Har), 2. Lalita RSPB), 3. Raman Yadav (MP) and Mansi (Har)

62kg: 1. Sonam (Har), 2. Sakshi Malik (RSPB), 3. Pushpa (MP) and Manisha (Har)

72kg: 1. Pinki (RSPB), 2. Naina (Har), 3. Priyanka (UP) and Kavita (RSPB).