Updated: August 20, 2018 7:59:02 pm
Vinesh Phogat on Monday created history by becoming the first Indian woman wrestler to win a gold medal at the Asian Games, brushing aside her rivals with rather ease in the 50kg freestyle category. She was a medal-favourite in her category and was likely to face stiff competition from Japan’s Yuki Irie whom she outplayed 6-2 in the final. The gold medal is a ground-breaking achievement for the 23-year-old from Haryana, who is connected to Dangal-famed Phogat family.
Phogat’s run to the final had been a confident and dominating one. In the semifinal round, Phogat defeated Uzbekistan’s Yakhshimuratova Dauletbike 10-0 in just 75 seconds, rolling off her opponent thrice in a leg-lock.
The Indian wrestler started her quarterfinals match against Kim Hyung-joo of Korea by taking six points. Phogat ended the bout with a four-point throw to win the match 11-0 with a technical superiority.
At the start of the day, Phogat faced her Rio opponent Sun Yanan, against whom she had suffered heart-breaking leg-injury, leading to her shock exit. This time, however, Phogat started well by rolling her on to the shoulder to receive two points. She went on to beat her opponent 8-2 to kickstart the day and her campaign to the gold medal.
Pooja Dhanda, Sumit Malik miss out on medal
Pooja Dhanda had earlier lost her semifinal bout by technical superiority after Kazakhstan’s Ayaulym Kassymova beat her 10-0. She had lost just one point on her way to the semifinals, outclassing Thailand’s Orasa Sookdongyor (10-0) and Uzbekistan’s Nabira Esenbae (12-1). But she got her way through to the bronze medal match by way of repechage. In the bronze medal match against Japan’s Sakagami Katsuki, Dhanda barely had a chance as she was battling to get a hold throughout. She started with a single point but it was quickly overturned with two points and from then on there was no looking back. Katsuki would go on to win 6-1 and pick up the bronze medal.
Sumit Malik lost to Uzbekistan’s Davit Modzmanashvili in the men’s 125kg freestyle wrestling category to miss out on the bronze medal. He had no answer in a low scoring affair where Davit won 2-0. Sumit found a way into the bronze medal match despite starting with a defeat. In the repechage round, he beat Oleg Boltin to move forward.
Sakshi Malik’s disappointing season continues
“We want to win medal every time we step on the mat. Only we know how we face people when we return without medal. It becomes so tough to answer when people ask questions,” said Sakshi Malik before going to Asian Games. As things panned out on Monday, she will come back without a medal indeed. India’s Olympic bronze medallist suffered defeat against North Korea’s Rim Jong Sing. In a completely one-sided affair, Sakshi went down 2-12 to lose on technical superiority.
An over defensive Sakshi Malik lost her semifinal bout to Kyrgyzstan’s Aisuluu Tynybekova, who gave away the first four points but won the next six to take lead. Sakshi lost the semifinal 8-7 to her Rio Olympics opponent, who she had beaten to win bronze. She won the previous two bouts against Thailand’s Salinee Srisombat and Ayaulym Kassymova with technical superiority.
Pinki loses early
Pinki remained the only Indian wrestler on Day 2 to not reach the medal round. She lost her first round bout in the 53kg category against Mongolia’s Sumiya Erdenechimeg without scoring a single point.
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