Anshu Malik wins historic silver, Sarita Mor bags bronze at World Wrestling Championships

Anshu Malik fell to Olympic champion Helen Maroulis in the women’s 57kg final. She is the first Indian woman to win a world wrestling championship silver medal.

By Rahul Venkat
Picture by United World Wrestling

India’s Anshu Malik won the silver medal in the women’s 57kg category at the World Wrestling Championships 2021 in Oslo, Norway on Thursday.

The feat made Tokyo Olympian Anshu Malik the first Indian women’s wrestler to win a silver medal at the world championships.

Before the ongoing edition, only five Indian women had won bronze at the world championships - Alka Tomar (2006), siblings Geeta Phogat and Babita Phogat (both 2012), Pooja Dhanda (2018) and Vinesh Phogat (2019).

Anshu Malik lost by fall to the USA’s Helen Maroulis, a 2016 Rio Olympics gold-medallist and Tokyo 2020 bronze-medallist, in the final.

The Indian wrestler won the first point of the bout but Maroulis soon took a 4-1 lead in the second period and then pinned Anshu to win her third world championships gold, all in different weight categories.

Sarita Mor wins bronze medal

India’s Sarita Mor, a two-time Asian champion, also won the bronze medal in the women’s 59kg after beating Sweden’s Sara Lindborg 8-2 in the playoff.

Sarita Mor has an impressive run this season, winning a gold at the Asian championships in Almaty in April. Earlier in the meet, Sarita stunned defending world champion Linda Morais of Canada en route to the semi-finals.

Anshu and Sarita’s medals on Thursday opened India’s account at the Oslo meet after all the men’s freestyle wrestlers struck out.

Asian champion Divya Kakran missed out on a podium finish after she lost to Mongolia’s Davaanasan Enkh Amar in the first repechage round of the women’s 72kg division.

Meanwhile, India’s Greco-Roman wrestlers were eliminated before the medal and repechage rounds.

In the 55kg event, Sandeep lost to Turkey’s Ekrem Ozturk in the round of 16 while Vikas was eliminated in the qualification round of the 72kg after losing to Cengiz Arslan of Turkey.

Sajan, competing in the 77kg, beat Norway’s Exauce Mukubu in the qualification round but then lost to Tamas Levai of Hungary in the round of 16.

India’s Harpreet Singh fell in the qualification round of the 82kg after losing to Iran’s Pejman Poshtam.