Commonwealth Games 2022 wrestling: Birthday girl Anshu Malik wins silver on CWG debut

Anshu Malik won the silver medal in the women’s 57kg freestyle. The Indian wrestler lost to defending champion Odunayo Adekuoroye of Nigeria in the final.

By Utathya Nag
Picture by 2022 Getty Images

Anshu Malik had to settle for the silver medal in the women’s 57kg freestyle wrestling event at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham, UK on Friday.

One her 21st birthday, Anshu Malik lost the gold medal match to Nigeria’s Odunayo Adekuoroye, a three-time world championships medallist and two-time reigning Commonwealth Games champion in the category, at the Coventry Stadium and Arena.

"I’m very happy but there's an element of regret as I wasn't able to win gold for my country, but I will try my best next time," Anshu said.

"I've had a few injuries in the recent past but I left everything on the mat, everything I had. Whatever will happen next is up to the almighty but I tried my best," the Indian added.

Incidentally, Odunayo Adekuoroye was the wrestler who denied Anshu a gold medal at her debut international senior meet - the Rome Ranking Series in 2020. This was the two’s first meeting on the mat since then.

In her medal bout, Anshu Malik, the top seed in her category at Birmingham 2022, started cautiously against Odunayo Adekuoroye, the only African woman to make a world championships final.

The experienced Adekuoroye opened the scoring with a two-point throwdown and doubled her lead just before the break to take a 4-0 lead heading into the second period.

The young Indian wrestler, meanwhile, struggled to find a way through the Nigerian’s strong defence and only won her first point of the bout through a passivity penalty on Adekuoroye.

The Nigerian eventually won the bout 7-3 to win her third straight gold at the CWG. The match originally ended 6-4, but a point got swapped due to an unsuccessful challenge by Anshu's camp after the match ended.

After receiving a bye in the first round, Anshu Malik accounted for Australia’s Irene Symeonidis via technical superiority in the quarter-finals before breezing past Sri Lanka’s Nethmi Poruthotage with a similar dominating display in the semi-finals.

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