Indian wrestler Antim Panghal clinched a bronze medal in the women’s 53 kg freestlye event at the World Wrestling Championships on Thursday, in Belgrade, Serbia. With the spot on the podium, Panghal also secured a berth at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games for India.
The 19-year-old from India beat Sweden’s Emma Malmgren 16-6, a win by Technical Superiority, to claim the bronze medal.
Panghal, the recently crowned Under-20 World Champion, had made a quick start to the match by racing to a 5-0 lead over the Under-23 and Senior European Champion. But the Swede managed to make it 6-6 at the end of the opening round.
In the second half though, the Indian dominated her opponent before securing the match and the medal.
Panghal had started the tournament with an upset 3-2 win over reigning world champion Dominique Olivia Parrish of the United States. She then beat Poland’s Roksana Marta Zasina 10-0, followed by a 9-6 win over Russian grappler Natalia Malysheva in the quarter-final.
In the semi-final, she lost a close bout 4-5 to Russian Vanesa Kaladzinskaya, the eventually silver-medallist.
But she was quick to make amends and clinch a spot on the podium with the win on Thursday.
The quota she won however, does not secure her a spot at Paris since the Olympic berth she won is awarded to the country. Therefore, there is a possibility that the quota she won may be awarded to another wrestler instead.
Panghal will now be expected to compete at the Asian Games in Hangzhou.