Anshu Malik became the first ever Indian woman wrestler to reach the final at the senior World Championships when she beat Ukraine’s Solomiia Vynnyk 11-0 to win by technical superiority in the semi-final of the 57 kg category in Oslo on Wednesday.
She controlled the bout right from the get-go and junior European champion Vynnyk was never quite in it. It only got worse in the second period.
The 20-year-old Malik will now run into USA’s Helen Maroulis, Tokyo bronze medallist, in the final. The young Indian will be tested against a very experienced wrestler, who had also won the gold medal at Rio 2016 (53kg).
The Nidani girl started competing in the senior circuit only from last year and has made a steady progress since then. She also had qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.
In the other semi-final featuring an Indian, seasoned Indian wrestler Sarita Mor went down to Bulgaria’s Bilyana Zhivkova Duodova 0-3. It was a tight bout and it was decided by virtually one point-scoring move. She will now go for bronze.
In the 76kg category, Kiran won her repechage round against Turkey’s Aysegul Ozbege to reach bronze play-off but Pooja Jatt (53kg) lost her repechage by fall to Eucuador’s Luisa Elizabeth Melendres.
However, Kiran lost to Egypt’s Samar Amer Ibrahim Hamza, the African champion. In a tight, defensive match, the Indian lost 1-2.
Only five Indian women wrestlers have won medals at the Worlds and all of them – Alka Tomar (2006), Geeta Phogat (2012), Babita Phogat (2012), Pooja Dhanda (2018) and Vinesh Phogat (2019) – have clinched bronze.
Malik also became only the third Indian ever to make the Worlds gold medal match after Sushil Kumar (2010) and Bajrang Punia (2018). India has only one world Champion in Sushil till date and Anshu Malik can create another history on Thursday.
Earlier, Mor had shocked defending champion Linda Morais. The Canadian was not able to breach Mor’s defence and lost in the 59kg pre-quarterfinals by a 2-8 margin.
In the 57kg category, the 21-year-old Malik lived up to the expectations with confident victories. She was hardly troubled by Kazakhstan’s Nilufar Raimova, whom she beat by technical superiority and later outwitted Mongolia’s Davaachimeg Erkhembayar 5-1 in the quarterfinals.
In the 72kg category, Divya Kakran stunned Kseniia Burakova to “win by fall” but lost by technical superiority to Japan’s Under-23 World champion Masako Furuich. She is now active through repechage.
Ritu Malik (68kg) was blown away by Ukraine’s Anastasiia Lavrenchuk in the Qualification bout that lasted only 15 seconds.
Inputs from PTI
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