National wrestling: Asian champion Divya Kakran upset

Returning to the mat after a bout of COVID-19, the 2018 Asian Games bronze medallist was not in her elements.

By Naveen Peter

Asian champion Divya Kakran, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 a few months back, returned to the mat at the senior national women’s wrestling championships only to lose in the opening round of the 68kg category on Sunday.

At the Holy Light Senior Secondary School in Agra, the 22-year-old Divya Kakran was up against Rajini of Uttar Pradesh. She lost 8-6.

Rajini later lost to veteran grappler Anita Sheron in the goal medal bout.

Divya Kakran, who won the Asian championships (68kg) last year in New Delhi, started her match on an aggressive note but couldn’t sustain it. Rajini then upped her game as the bout progressed to overpower her opponent 

Divya Kakran was found wanting in her upper body strength with her opponent barely facing a challenge going in with her attacking moves. 

The bronze medallist from the 2018 Asian Games did well to stay in the bout for long and Divya kept pace with her opponent with some smart moves to pocket her points. But Divya Kakran was undone when her camp went for a challenge with just 14 seconds to spare.

With Rajini looking exhausted, the review — that lasted for about a minute — gave the UP wrestler enough time to catch a breath and regroup and see out the match without any final inroads from Divya.

Meanwhile, the Asian champion in the 59kg weight division, Sarita Mor retained her national title with a dominant performance.

Maharashtra’s Nandani took the gold in the 53kg category. Vinesh Phogat competes in the same division but opted to give the nationals a miss to train in Europe.

Meanwhile, Railways’ Nisha took the 65kg division title and Kiran reigned supreme in the 75kg category.