A dominant Vinesh Phogat won her first gold medal of the 2020 season at the Rome Ranking Series event after teen sensation Anshu Malik settled for a silver in 57kg competition, in Rome on Friday.
Vinesh downed two tough Chinese rivals on her way to the 53kg gold medal bout in which she overpowered Ecudor’s Luisa Elizabeth Valverde 4-0.
Showing immense upper body strength, Vinesh had rattled her rival with shoulder pulls, never allowing her to attack.
She won by technical superiority against Khrystyna Bereza (10-0) and Lannuan Luo (15-5) before getting the better of Qianyu Pang (4-2).
If the win against Ukrainian Bereza was about spectacular double leg attacks, the quarter-final win over the Luo was much tougher than the what the score-line suggested. Luo was a strong opponent, who led 5-2 at the end of first period but Vinesh turned it around with smart point-scoring moves from nowhere in the second period.
Twice she threw Luo with moves from between the legs when the Chinese was holding her from the back. With two wrestlers, having immense upper-body strength, jostling for upper hand from standing position was a sight to watch.
Fighting a measured bout against Pang, Vinesh was in control in the semi-final, With two takedowns in each period she led 4-0 and conceded points only towards the end of the fight.
The 18-year-old Anshu carried her sparkling form from the trials at her first international tournament at the senior level but could not replicate it in the gold medal bout, losing to Nigeria’s Odunayo Adekuoroye.
The 18-year-old was very dominant till the final, beating American Jenna Rose Burkert, Grace Bullen of Norway, 2019 world champion from Canada Linda Morais en route the final. Anshu had upset world championship bronze medallist Pooja Dhanda during the trials.
But Divya Kakran returned empty-handed after losing the 68kg bronze medal play-off bout to Danielle Suzanne Lappage of Canada.
Competing in 50kg, Nirmala Devi, lost her semi-final to Sarah Ann Hildebrandt and later the bronze play-off to Victoria Lacey Anthony to miss out on a medal.
Against Hildebrandt, Nirmala was aggressive throughout, going for leg attacks, but the American stayed solid in her defence, reminding the tactics that Vinesh had employed against her at the 2019 World Championship in Nur Sultan.
In the men’s freestyle competition, Satyawart Kadiyan (97kg) and Sumit Mailk (125kg) exited following their quarter-final defeats.
Kadiyan lost 0-2 to Ukraine’s Murazi Mchedlidze while Sumit suffered defeat by technical superiority against Canada’s Amarveer Dhesi.
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