Shivani Pawar reached the final of the U-23 World Wrestling Championships in the women’s 50kg category in Belgrade on Wednesday. She will look to become the first Indian wrestler to win a gold medal at the U-23 Worlds.
The Indian will have her task cut out against reigning junior world champion Emily King Shilson of USA in the final.
Pawar though will feel confident after overcoming several difficulties on her way to the final. In the first round, she overcame a 0-9 deficit against U-23 European silver medalist Anastasiya Yanotava to win by fall.
Then in the second round, she again from 3-6 down to seal the victory. In the semi-finals, Pawar beat Russia’s Mariia Tiumerekova by fall to be the third Indian woman wrestler to reach the final. Ritu Phogat and Pooja Gehlot had won silver medals at the event in the past. Among the men, only Bajrang Punia and Ravi Dahiya have participated in the U-23 Worlds final with both losing out in the gold medal bout.
In the 55kg semi-final, Anju fought hard till the end and reduced the deficit to 4-5 in the final seconds but couldn’t get another scoring move in time against Viktoriia Vaulina to miss out on the chance to reach the final. She will now play for bronze.