Three Indian women wrestlers bronze medalist Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat and Divya Kakran had to manage for a silver medal at their respective weight categories at Asian Wrestling Championship on Friday.
All the Indian women wrestlers were defeated by their Japanese opponents who were difficult to tackle.
Whereas, Ritu Phogat has managed to win a bronze medal in women’s 48kg category without fighting as her opponent Sun Yanan of China had to back off due to an injury.
Sakshi in the 60kg and Divya Kakran in the 69kg didn’t even managed to survive for even six minutes during their final round whereas Vinesh in the 55kg did put up a good fight before losing it.
After a year’s pause, Sakshi Malik made a comeback to the international circuit after her Rio win, Malik looked a little lazed out as she tackled Japan’s Risako Kawai in the women’s 60kg category gold medal bout as she went down to the Rio Games 63kg gold medallist 0-10 in just 2 minutes and 44 seconds.
Sakshi simply failed to match the agility and speed of her rival.
Competing for the first time in women’s 60kg category after jumping up the weight division from 58kg, Sakshi though hardly had to break a sweat en route to the final.
It was a cat-walk for the 24-year-old, who got the better of Nabira Esenbaeva of Uzbekistan 6-2 in the quarterfinal and then defeated Kazakhstan’s Ayaulym Kassymova 15-3 in her semifinal round to march into the gold medal round.
“Kawai is a very experienced wrestler and an Olympic gold medallist. It was a really good learning experience for me. I am happy to have bagged a silver after returning to action after Rio Games and marriage. Though I feel I could have done better,” said Sakshi after the medal ceremony.
Vinesh, who also made a comeback after a long injury break, was lagging behind from the very beginning against a strong Japanese competitor Sae Nanjo and ultimately went down 4-8 and had to settle for the silver medal in women’s 55kg category.
The Japanese girl took very little time to prove her strengths, gaining four quick points by taking down Vinesh twice before bagging another two to make it 6-0 at the break.
In the second half, Vinesh came back strongly and quickly took down the Japanese wrestler to win two points and got closer the gap to 2-6. But the Japanese wrestler moved forward to 8-2.
Though Vinesh, who is returning to the mat after the last year’s Rio Games where she had suffered an injury, managed to get two more points but it was not enough in the end.
The 22-year-old, in the early rounds had won easily during her quarterfinal and semifinal rounds.
She defeated Sevara Eshmuratova of Uzbekistan 10-0 in the quarterfinal before thrashing China’s Qi Zhang 4-0 in the semifinal to storm into the gold medal round.
Vinesh, who normally fights in 48kg or 53kg but chose to climb to 55kg for the Asian Championship, said that she was happy to have finished with a silver in a higher weight category.
“Competing in 55kg and winning a silver is satisfying. I am happy to be back on the mat,” said Vinesh, adding that she would go back to her 48kg category.
Divya was the third Indian girl who lost to another Japanese gold medallist of Rio Games Sara Dosho.
A new girl on the block, Divya put up a fine show but she was pinned down by her rival in 4 minutes and 55 seconds. The Indian lost the gold medal bout 0-8 in a one-sided contest.
Divya, during the morning session, had beaten Chen-Chi Huang of Taipei 2-0 by fall verdict and then outplayed Hyeonyeong Park of Korea 12-4 in the semifinal.