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Asian Wrestling C'ships: Antim Panghal wins silver, four others win bronze

Antim Panghal capped off a stellar debut by winning silver at Asian Wrestling Championships while four other wrestlers won bronze.

Asian Wrestling Cships: Antim Panghal wins silver, four others win bronze

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 13 April 2023 4:17 AM GMT

Young Antim Panghal signed off with a silver medal in her debut Asian Championships after going down to the formidable Akari Fujinami of Japan in the 53kg title clash while four other Indian wrestlers clinched bronze medals, here on Wednesday.

Anshu Malik (57kg), Sonam Malik (62kg), Manisha (65kg), and Reetika (72kg) added to India's medal rush, winning their bronze medal bouts. Panghal gave a good account of herself in the tournament as she registered dominant wins to breeze into the summit clash.

But Fujinami, the 2021 world champion and someone who has hardly lost a bout since she started competing at the senior level in 2020, put an end to her winning run. The 18-year-old Indian, competing in star Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat's weight class, lost technical superiority to the Japanese grappler.

The talented Anshu looked her formidable best as she won by technical superiority over Mongolian Erdenesuvd Bat Erdene to bag a bronze in the 57kg event.

On the other hand, Sonam, who had lost in the quarterfinal to Orkhon Purevdorj, bounced back into the competition after the Mongolian reached the final.

She notched up a 5-1 win over China's Xiaojuan Luo in her bronze medal bout. Reetika too won by a similar margin against Uzbek Svetlana Oknazarova, while Manisha recorded a victory by fall win over Albina Kairgeldinova of Kazakhstan.

Earlier Panghal, who last year became the first Indian woman wrestler to become U20 world champion, routed the 53kg field, not conceding a single point on the moves of her rivals.

The only point she lost was through a caution received in her semifinal against Uzbekistan's Aktenge Keunimjaeva, whom she outclassed 8-1. Panghal got on board with a take-down move that she initiated with a left-leg attack.

The Uzbeki had the Indian in a headlock position a couple of times but on both occasions, not only Panghal wriggled out with consummate ease, but she also employed counterattacks at a lightning pace to keep extending her lead.

Panghal had begun her campaign with a dominating 'win by fall' against Singaporean Hsiao Ping Alvina Lim and followed up with a 6-0 victory in the quarterfinal against China's Li Deng.

In the 57kg competition, more was expected from Anshu, the 2021 world championship silver medallist as she struggled to score against Japan's Sae Nanjo, the reigning U23 world champion. It was Nanjo who began on an aggressive note, getting hold of Malik's left leg but the Indian managed to escape.

Malik was put on the clock for her passivity and conceded a point for not being able to score within a 30-second period. The action-less first period ended with the Japanese leading 1-0. In the second period, Nanjo also lost a point for passivity but she soon got hold of Malik's left leg and turned it powerfully, leaving Malik grimacing in pain and tapping the mat, pleading with the Japanese to unlock the leg.

By the time the referee stopped the bout, the damage was done. The injury had crippled Anshu's move and the Japanese emerged a 5-1 winner. India now has 11 medals from the competition with Greco-Roman wrestlers grabbing four of them. Nisha Dahiya (68kg) won a silver and Priya (76kg) clinched bronze on Tuesday.

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