An excited Sakshi Malik ran towards her captain Adeline Gray to celebrate her win over UP Warriors’ Sarita with a wide smile on her face. Though not a convincing win, Sakshi was pumped up because she was performing in front of a three-time world champion. Adeline responded with high fives and congratulated her with a pat on the back. In the last one week that Adeline has joined the Mumbai squad, Sakshi has always looked forward for training with her. “She is a champion and I want to learn all the tricks. How many times will I have an opportunity like this to practice with her? She is an inspiration,” says Sakshi, failing to control her smile.
Wednesday was all about Adeline at the Pro Wrestling League where Mumbai Garudas convincingly beat UP 5-2 with their captain leading from the front. The 69kg category wrestler won by a technical fall in just 1:45 seconds against the 2013 World champion (67kg) Alina Makhinia. The bout was a dead rubber as Mumbai had already taken an unassailable 4-1 lead in the tie. But, Adeline’s plays made it the bout of the evening.
The 2015 World Champion from USA rolled over Alina three times to grab a 7-0 lead in just one minute and 30 seconds. She needed only 15 more seconds to clinch what was called the bout of the champions.
But Mumbai didn’t begin the evening on a promising note with their 74kg wrestler Pradeep losing 1-12 to Purvevjav Unuurbut. The 58kg bout between Sakshi and Sarita turned it around for Mumbai. A narrow 3-2 win in this bout tied Mumbai 1-1 with UP and then Rahul Aware sent them into lead with a 11-0 win over Jaideep in the 57kg category. Bronze medallist at the 2015 Worlds in Las Vegas, Nigeria’s Odunayo Adekuoroye beat UP captain Babita 10-0 in just three minutes and 34 seconds.
The tie was sealed in Mumbai’s favour by Odikadze Elizbar who won 10-0 against Satyavart Kadian. Amit Dhankar was pitted against two time Worlds bronze medallist Ganzong Mandakhnran in the 65 kg. A bout that turned ugly at the end with Ganzong failing to stand-up and Dhankar bleeding from the side of his right eye, it was the Mongolian who came out on top after the scoreline read 7-7 at the end. With just 12 seconds to go and the 29-year-old leading 7-4, Dhankar took him down and out of the ring to win three points and tie it. But the jury adjudged the former as the winner due to technical superiority.