It was a happy ending for wrestler Nisha Dahiya as she emerged national champion in the women’s 65kg category in Gonda, Uttar Pradesh a day after reports of her death turned out to be a case of mistaken identity.
The title clash ended in just 30 seconds with Nisha, the U23 world championship bronze medallist, pinning her rival Jaspreet Kaur from Punjab.
Except for her semifinal against Haryana’s Priyanka, it turned out to be an easy day in the office for the 23-year-old Nisha, who represents Railways.
“It indeed is a happy and perfect end to my campaign. I was so stressed yesterday. I could not even sleep. I was already low on energy due to weight cut and this incident just proved too much to handle,” Nisha told PTI after winning her third gold medal at the Nationals.
An upcoming wrestler named Nisha Dahiya had been shot on Wednesday evening, leading to the U23 Worlds medallist issuing a clarification that she was alive and well and training for the event in Gonda.
Nisha’s agility and attacking moves were too hot to handle for her opponents. She stood out with her leg attacks.
“Of course, an athlete wants to be discussed and talked about but I am sure not in this way. I want people to know for my performance and not for such freak incidents,” she said.
“I got so many calls that I had to switch off my phone. It was becoming tense and I wanted to stay focussed on my competition. Eventually, it did not affect my performance,” said Nisha.
Shafali and Priyanka, expectedly, won bronze medals by winning their respective play-offs. If groomed well, both the youngsters are expected to be good prospects for India in future.
Before the final, both the 65kg semifinals were fast-paced and furiously fought. Jaspreet edged out Haryana’s Shafali 6-4 while Nisha prevailed 7-6 against Priyanka.
In the women’s 76kg event, 37-year-old Gurhsranpreet Kaur won the gold medal after her rival Pooja Sihag left the mat in tears after twisting her right arm when the Punjab wrestler made a move on counter-attack as the match ended in the first period itself.
It was the seventh gold medal for Gurusharanpreet at the Nationals.
The 76-category seemed headed for a title clash between familiar names – veteran Kiran and Gursharanpreet but Pooja prevented that with her 3-1 win over the Railways player.
Gursharanpreet on the other hand had an easy win by fall against Bipasha, a talented Delhi youngster, who had won a silver medal at the junior world championship recently. Bipasha and Kiran won bronze medals.
Competition for women was held only in two categories on Thursday while the Greco Style event concluded on the opening day of the championship.
The two finalists in each category will represent India at the Commonwealth Championship, scheduled to be held in Pretoria, South Africa from December 3-5. While the gold medal winner will travel at the government’s expense, the runner-up will have to go on their own.
The WFI may ask for trials in men’s freestyle 92kg since Deepak Punia, who skipped Nationals due to injury, has expressed interest in competing.
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