Vinesh Phogat reaches Asian Wrestling Championship final

Vinesh came one step closer to clinching her maiden continental title by winning her semifinal contest on Friday; Anshu Malik (57kg) and Sakshi Malik (65kg) also reached the final.

FILE PHOTO - PTI

Three Indian wrestlers - Vinesh Phogat (53kg), Anshu Malik (57kg) and Sakshi Malik (65kg) - reached their respective finals at the Asian Wrestling Championships here on Friday.

There was no stopping Vinesh in the absence of the Chinese and Japanese rivals as she cruised to the summit round without losing a point and can now win her first gold medal at the Continental championship.

Vinesh has had seven podium finishes at the Asian meet over the years, including three silver medals.

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She won by technical superiority against Mongolia's Otgonjargal Ganbaatar and Taipei's Meng Hsuan Hsieh while an injured Hyunyoung Oh from South Korea did not turn up for the semifinal.

Vinesh, who had won a bronze in the Delhi edition of the Continental Championship last year, will now face Hsieh in the final.

Comfortable win

Continuing her impressive rise, Anshu, who booked an Olympic quota for herself only few days back at the same venue, reached the summit clash with ease.

The 19-year-old won her first two bouts by technical superiority against Uzbekistan's Sevara Eshmuratova and Kyrguzstan's Nazira Marsbek Kyzy to reach the semifinal. Her quick moves and tremendous energy had her rivals gasping for breath.

Up against Mongolia's Battsetseg Altantsetseg, she was leading 9-1 when the referee awarded the 'victory by caution' to the Indian. The Mongolian was cautioned thrice.

She will fight for gold against the same Mongolian rival.

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Also reaching the final was Sakshi Malik, who is competing in 65kg, having missed her claim in her pet 62kg category.

Competing much better than she was doing in trials, the Rio Games bronze medallist won her first two bouts by technical superiority and was leading 3-0 against Hanbit Lee when the South Korean suffered a knee injury and opted out of the contest.

She will fight for gold Mongolia's Bolortungalag Zorigt.

Also doing well was Divya Kakran, who is competing in 72 category.

She stunned reigning Asian Champion Zhamila Bakbergenova from Kazakhstan 8-5 en route the third round.

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