'Before Antim Panghal, six Indian wrestlers had reached the finals at the junior World meet but none of them had a gold medal finish.'
India’s Antim Panghal made history on Friday, winning gold in the women's 53kg category at the Junior World Wrestling Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria.
She defeated Kazakhstan’s Atlyn Shagayeva 8-0 in the final to emerge the first Indian woman to win gold in the competition’s 34-year history.
India bagged two more medals on the day through Sonam Malik and Priyanka, who won silver.
Before Antim, six Indian wrestlers had reached the finals at the junior World meet but none of them had a gold medal finish.
The 17-year-old from Haryana’s Bhagana village in Hisar district easily won all her rounds, which included the scalp of European champion Olivia Andrich 11-0 by technical superiority.
Up against Under-20 Asian Championships bronze medallist Shagayeva in the final, Antim came up with a near-perfect performance. Leading 6-0 at the break, she maintained her stronghold for the rest of the bout to win 8-0.
"I really love counters but here she (Altyn Shagayeva) was not attacking much so I had to initiate a few attacks," Antim, who won gold at the seniors Zouhaier Sghaier Ranking Series in Tunisia last month, told the United World Wrestling website after her triumph.
She beat junior European champion Amory Olivia Andrich of Germany via technical superiority (11-0) in the first round before pinning Ayaka Kimura of Japan in the quarter-finals.
"Everyone always said that Japan is the best. All I wanted to do was beat Japan," she declared.
In the semi-finals, Antim outplayed Ukraine's Under-20 European Championships bronze medallist Nataliia Klivchutska, winning 11-2.
Apart from her gold medal, Tokyo Olympian and two-time cadet World champion Sonam Malik (women’s 62kg) and Priyanka (women’s 65kg), another reigning junior Asian champion, won silver medals
Sonam lost by fall to senior World Championships bronze medallist Nonoka Ozaki of Japan in the final. She defeated Under-23 Asian Championships silver medallist Bermet Nuridin Kyzy of Kazakhstan in similar fashion in the semi-finals.
Priyanka lost to Japan's Mahiro Yoshitake 8-0 in the 65kg final. In the semi-finals, she pinned Under-23 Asian Championships silver medallist Dilnaz Sazanova of Kyrgyzstan.
With Friday's gold and two silver medals, India now have 12 medals - one gold, three silver and eight bronze, from the Sofia championships.