Sheetal Tomar continued her dominance over Nirmala with a 7-3 verdict in the women’s 50 Kg final at the Senior National Wrestling Championships on Saturday. It was Tomar’s fourth meeting with Nirmala in recent years with her only loss coming in the World Championship trials, which meant she missed the showdown against Seema Bisla, who booked a spot in the major event. But after becoming national champion, the Rajasthan Police inspector expressed confidence of winning a quota for the 2020 Olympics in her weight category.
“Nirmala didi was in good form here. Before losing to her in the trials for the world championships, I had defeated Nirmala didi three times and knew I can do the same today. I had worked upon my leg attacks, which helped me gain control in the final. It’s a dream for any wrestler to qualify for the Olympics and today’s win will add to my confidence,” shared Tomar.
Hailing from Pachgaon village near Meerut, Tomar started wrestling under coach Jabar Singh Saum at the akhada in Chaudhary Charan Singh University with her father Sompal Singh dropping her daily. Her father died following a heart attack six months later and a young Tomar had to worry about her training and diet.
She became national sub-junior champion in the 44Kg category apart from claiming a bronze medal at the Asian Junior Championships in Thailand in 2013, a year in which she also finished sixth at the world junior championship. Last year, Tomar won a bronze in the 50 Kg category at the nationals.
“I had started wrestling on seeing Alka Tomar didi win medals at the national and international level and would try her moves at the akhada. We had to take some loan to support my training and diet initially but things improved when I joined as an inspector with Rajasthan Police. We have repaid the loan and seeing me win medals brings the biggest joy to my family,” shares Tomar.
Chief national coach Kuldeep Malik believes Tomar has the game to excel at the international level. “Sheetal can surprise any wrestler in the 50 kg category and her strength is her speed. This weight category is the most competitive in India as Seema, Anju and now Nirmala have been doing well, and any of these girls can win against any other on any given day,” he said.
Return of the old guard
On a day when World Championships bronze medallist Vinesh Phogat (55 Kg) and Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik (62 Kg) added to their gold tally at the nationals, it was a day for the old guard too. Delhi Commonwealth Games gold medallist Anita Sheoran, 34, emerged as the champion in the 68 Kg category with a 5-1 win over Divya Kakran, while Punjab’s 35-year-old Gursharan Kaur, a single mother of a five-year-old girl, claimed the title in the 76 Kg with a 4-2 win over Pooja of Haryana. Sheoran had competed in last year’s nationals in a different weight category.