Antim Panghal become the first Indian woman wrestler to win back-to-back Under-20 World Championships gold medals when she defended her 53kg crown at the event in Amman, Jordan on Friday.
Savita (62kg) was also crowned world champion as the Indian women team won the team title at a World Championships for the first time. Savita is now a double world champion after having won the U-17 world title in the 61kg category earlier this month in Istanbul, Turkey.
In a phenomenal result for Indian wrestling, seven female wrestlers from the country won medals, including the three gold medals, one silver through Antim Kundu (65kg) and three bronze via Reena (57kg), Arju (68kg) and Harshita (72kg).
Among the men, Mohit Kumar won India’s first gold medal at the 2023 World Championships in the 61kg category. The other medal winners were Sagar Jaglan (79kg) who won silver and two bronze medals from Deepak Chahal (97kg) and Rajat Ruhal (127kg).
Panghal, who hails from Hisar in Haryana, dominated her Ukrainian rival Mariia Yefremova in an easy 4-0 win. Her defence of the title was characterised by her authority over the category – she conceded only two points.
Last year, Panghal had become the first Indian woman grappler to win a Junior World Championship title and has already had a smooth transition to the senior circuit, where she is now set to compete at the Asian Games.
She did not give an inch to Yefremova, foiling her leg attacks with remarkable presence of mind.
Panghal was quick with her movements and her double-leg attacks, employed with her tremendous strength had the Ukrainian gasping.
She sealed the bout with a right-leg attack which she converted into a take-down move.
In the 62kg final, Savita won India’s third gold medal with a convincing technical superiority win over Venezuela’s A Paola Montero Chirinos.
The wrestler from Rohtak began with a take-down two-pointer and kept increasing the lead against Chirinos.
By the end of the first period, Savita had raced to a 9-0 lead and finished the point soon after the start of the second period, without conceding a point.
Antim Kundu did not look in her element in her final, losing 2-9 to the local favourite Eniko Elekes.
Reena took the 57kg bronze with a 9-4 win over Kazakshtan’s Shugyla Omirbek. She was leading 5-0 and survived last-minute drama to seal her place on the podium.
At 5-2, the umpire awarded four points to the Kazakh wrestler on a move but the Indian got the decision overturned and then finished the match with a 9-4 win.
Earlier in the day, Reena (57kg) won two repechage rounds to get to the medal round and win bronze.
Harshita rounded off the Indian campaign with a bronze in the 72kg by beating Emilia Creciun from Moldova. She was leading 6-0 at that time when Harshita found a move to put Creciun’s back on the mat to ‘win by fall’.