Vinesh, Anshu and Divya claim gold medals at Asian wrestling championships

Divya Kakran emerged as the second Indian woman to secure two gold medals in the Asian wrestling championships on Friday as women wrestlers of the country bagged four gold medals.

Anshu Malik (left) and Vinesh Phogat   -  SPECIAL ARRANGMENT

Divya Kakran emerged as the second Indian woman to secure two gold medals in the Asian wrestling championships on Friday as women wrestlers of the country bagged four gold medals in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

In the continental event marred by the absence of strong countries China and Japan, three Indian women – Divya (72kg), Vinesh Phogat (53kg) and Anshu Malik (57kg) – bagged gold medals. Only Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik settled for silver in 65kg.

A day after Sarita Mor became the first Indian woman to win two Asian titles, Divya, who had claimed the 68kg crown in New Delhi a year ago, took the gold in a depleted 72kg field consisting of just four wrestlers.

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Divya, who had not been in the best of form and lost the 68kg selection trials before choosing 72kg, defeated Tsevegmed Enkhbayar of Mongolia 2-0 and Zhamila Bakbergenova of Kazakhstan 8-5.

Tsevegmed and Zhamila beat Korean Sujin Park, making Divya’s road clear to take the gold medal with a fight to spare.

Nevertheless, Divya defeated Sujin 2-0 in her last bout to be the deserving winner. "The difference here is that I am wrestling without pressure," Divya was quoted as saying by www.unitedworldwrestling.org.

Olympic qualified wrestler Vinesh got her maiden Asian title. She beat Otgonjargal Ganbaatar of Mongolia 11-0 and Meng Hsuan Hsieh of Chinese Taipei 12-0 in the group stage. Vinesh reached the final as her Korean opponent Hyunyoung Oh forfeited her match due to an injury.

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She defeated Meng by fall to clinch the title. “The main aim was to wrestle the Japan and China wrestlers, but they are not here. If there is a gold medal on the offering, I will take it,” Vinesh said.

Anshu, who claimed an Olympic quota place in 57kg last week, cruised against Sevara Eshmuratova of Uzbekistan 10-0, Nazira Marsbek Kyzy of Kyrgyzstan 10-0 and Battsetseg Altantseseg of Mongolia 9-1 before overcoming Korean Shinhye Lee with a 2-2 scoreline.

Anshu again beat Battsetseg 3-0 in the final to claim her first Asian gold.

Sakshi, who could not win the 62kg Olympic weight trials and qualified in 65kg, lost the summit clash to Bolortungalag Zorigt of Mongolia via fall.

Sonam Malik, who also booked a spot in the Olympics in 62kg, had to forego her matches due to a knee injury.

Seema (50kg) and Pooja (76kg) had earlier won bronze medals.