Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik were the only two medallist for India on the final day of women’s freestyle wrestling at the Asian Championships in Xi’an Chins. Both wrestlers won bronze medals in the 53 kg and 62 kg weight categories respectively.
Pooja Dhanda, Navjot Kaur and Kiran returned empty handed from the tournament as India finished with four bronze medals in 10 women’s events.
Asian Games champion Phogat was expected to reach the final of the 53 kg but lost 0-10 in the quarter-final against 55 kg world champion Mayu Mukaida of Japan. However, the Japanese wrestler reached the final to give Phogat a chance in the repechage where she defeated Jo Cih Chiu of Chinese Taipei 10-0.
In the bronze medal play-off against Qianyu Pang of China, Phogat lead 2-1 thanks to a takedown after giving up a point for no activity. In the second period, Phogat managed to get a four-point throw which gave her a 6-1 lead before a takedown made it 8-1 till the end of the time.
Phogat had lost to Pang in the final of last month’s Dan Kolov ranking tournament, the first she participated since moving up to the 53 kg category.
For Malik, it was a tough bout against Hyon Gyong Mun of North Korea as she trailed 3-6 after suffering a four-point throw. But she got one of her own to lead 7-6 and later countered an attack from Mun to take it nine and win 9-6 for the bronze medal.
Earlier, Malik had lost to Yukako Kawai in the quarter-final. The Japan wrestler had also defeated Malik in the world championships last year and while that was a technical superiority win, she pinned the Indian on Friday.
But she reached the final which gave Malik a chance in the repechage and a chance to win a bronze medal, which she did.
India, however, had to suffer a heartbreak in the 57 kg as Dhanda twice slipped up in the final moments of her bouts to miss out on a medal at Asian Championships.
In the semi-final against world champion Ningning Rong of China, Dhanda led 4-2 before giving up six points in the final 30 seconds to lose 4-8 and later in the bronze medal match, she gave up a takedown with 16 seconds left and lost 3-5 to Mongolia’s Tserenchimed Sukhee.
Kaur was the final wrestler in the bronze medal bout of 65 kg but she returned empty-handed after losing 0-7 to Aina Temirtassova of Kazakhstan. In the women’s 72kg category, Kiran crashed out in the quarterfinals as she lost 4-7 on points at the hands of Zhamila Bakbergenova of Kazakhstan.
On Thursday, Manju Kumari and Divya Kakran had won the bronze medals in the 59 kg and 68 kg respectively.