Asian Wrestling Championships: Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik win bronze medals; Women add four medals to India’s tally

Vinesh Phogat won bronze in 53kg. (Source: PTI)

Asian Games gold medallist Vinesh Phogat clinched a bronze medal in the 53kg category after beating World Championships bronze medalist Qianyu Pang 8-1 at Asian Wrestling Championships. Rio Olympic medalist Sakshi Malik also won a bronze medal for India after defeating North Korean grappler 9-6 Hyon Gyong Mun in the 62kg category.

Both Sakshi and Vinesh lost their quarterfinal bouts but made their way to the podium through the repechage round as their victors reached the finals.

Phogat had moved up from the 50 kg category at the Games after rejigging of weight classes by the world governing body for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Vinesh had a disappointing start as she lost to Mayu Mukaida of Japan, who came through the qualification round. The Japanese was declared a 10-0 winner in a victory by technical superiority verdict. But since her opponent reached the final, Vinesh featured in the repechage round where she beat Jo Cih Chiu of Taipei in a 6-0 victory by fall verdict.

For Sakshi, a qualifying round win on points against Thi My Hanh Nguyen of Vietnam was followed by a defeat against World Championships silver medallist Yukako Kawai of Japan in the quarterfinals by fall decision.

But since Kawai reached the final, Sakshi got a chance to feature in the repechage round where she had a comprehensive win over Jiae Choi of Korea in a victory by technical superiority decision to reach the bronze-medal play-off.

Pooja Dhanda lost 3-5 in her 57 kg Bronze medal bout.

In the women’s 72 kg category, Kiran crashed out in the quarterfinals as she lost 4-7 on points at the hands of Zhamila Bakbergenova of Kazakhstan. It was disappointment for India in the 65kg also as Navjot lost her quarterfinal bout but reached the bronze medal play-off where she was beaten by Aina Temirtassova of Kazakhstan.

None of the Indian wrestlers were able to make it to the final. With two bronze medals wins, India’s total tally in the competition increased to 12 medals (1 Gold, 3 Silver & 8 Bronze). With the two bronze medals won on Thursday through Manju Kumari (59kg) and Divya Kakran (68kg), Indian women wrestlers ended their campaign with four bronze medals.

(With inputs from PTI)