Three golds for India at Asian Wrestling Championships

Indian wrestlers clinch top prize in respective categories as women’s wrestling got underway at the Asian meet in New Delhi.

By Naveen Peter

Bronze medallist at the previous edition and one of India’s promising wrestler’s Divya Kakran along with Sarita Mor and Pinki helped India clinch three gold medals as women’s wrestling got underway at the Asian Wrestling Championships on Thursday. 

Competing in the 68kg category, the 2018 Asian Games bronze medallist, Divya Kakran, earned her first gold by the virtue of winning all her bouts against wrestlers from Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, and Japan. 

Up against Albina Kairgeldinova of Kazakhstan in her opening bout, Divya Kakran barely broke a sweat before registering a 6-0 win to kick-start the proceedings for the hosts at the KD Jadhav Indoor Stadium.

Her second win was much more straightforward as the Indian wrestler had Mongolia’s Delgermaa Enkhsaikhan in all sorts of trouble from her word go. Divya Kakran displayed an array of fine wrestling moves to pocket points at will and won the tie 11-2.

Divya Kakran celebrates her win at the Asian Wrestling Championships. Photo: UWW

Riding high on confidence following her two wins, the 22-year-old Indian wrestler ensured that she built on her performance in the remaining matches as an 8-0 win over Uzbekistan’s Azoda Esbergenova was followed by a 6-4 victory Naruha Matsuyuki of Japan to complete a clean sweep of her category.

Sarita Mor returns to win big

Meanwhile, returning to the Asian event after her silver medal in 2017, Sarita Mor went one step ahead to win the yellow metal this time following a tense 3-2 win over Battsetseg Altantsetseg of Mongolia.

Coming into the gold medal bout on the back of dominants wins in the early rounds, Sarita Mor started in an all but familiar fashion as she took the fight to her opponent in the early exchanges. The hurry, however, ended up costing her as Altantsetseg was smart enough to turn around and push the Indian wrestler out of bounds to take the opening point in the final.

That didn’t stop Sarita Mor as she responded well by attacking her opponent’s legs to initiate a takedown to eke ahead.

Divya Kakran celebrates her win at the Asian Wrestling Championships. Photo: UWW

With both the wrestlers finding it hard to create an opening from there on, it was all about keeping one’s composure and waiting for a mistake to pounce on. 

And though Sarita Mor let her opponent draw level by failing to get a grasp of the mat, Altantsetseg, in her attempt to go for a takedown, saw her being dragged off the mat as the Indian wrestler took the tie by a 3-2 margin. 

Pinki adds to India’s kitty

Earlier, Pinki too made the most of her opportunity to bring home the gold medal in the 55kg category after a 2-1 win over another Monlogian grappler *Dulguun Bolormaa. *

In what was a rather uneventful final, the Indian wrestler had to wait till the final minute to ensure victory as passivity calls dominated the final with the Indian benefitting from it the most. 

Where to watch the Asian Wrestling Championships

Friday will see India’s Olympic hopefuls Sonam Malik and Vinesh Phogat take centre stage with the action beginning at 11:30 AM IST.

Finals of all the events of the Asian Wrestling Championships will be broadcast on Star Sports First and fans can also live stream the tournament on Hotstar and wrestlingtv.in.