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Asian Games: Antim wins bronze on tough day for Indian wrestlers

Last updated on: October 05, 2023 19:16 IST

Pooja Gehlot

Teen sensation Antim Panghal humbled Tokyo Olympics medallist Bolortuya Bat-Ochir 3-1 to win a bronze medal but other Indian wrestlers struggled badly at the Asian Games in Hangzhou on Thursday.

The 19-year-old Antim bounced back after losing to two-time Japanese world champion Akari Fujinami in the quarterfinals in a superb manner as she did not let the Mongolian attack much in the women's 53kg bronze play-off.

Antim saved the day for the Indian contingent which badly needed a medal after Narinder Cheema (Greco-Roman 97kg), Naveen (Greco Roman 130kg) and Pooja Gehlot (women's 50kg) were ousted.

Pooja was outplayed 2-9 in the bronze medal bout by Aktenge Keunimjaeva, the Asian championship bronze winner.


A lot was expected from Mansi Ahlawat (women's 57kg) too but she ended up losing her bronze play-off 'by fall' to Uzbekistan's Laylokhon Sobirova, who needed just 70 seconds to win the contest.

Antim had come to Hangzhou after winning a bronze at the world championships and she carried her good form into the prestigious event.

Her bronze is only the second wrestling medal of this edition.

She raced to a 3-0 lead after scoring her first point on the passivity of the Mongolian and later scored off a brilliant counter-attack.

Antim foiled a single-leg attack from the Bolortuya and later lost a point in the second period when she was put on 'clock'.

The Mongolian attacked from distance and mostly went for single leg attacks but could not breach the solid defence of Antim.

Antim was included in the Indian contingent for the Asian Games after Vinesh Phogat pulled out due to an injury. She had challenged her decorated compatriot for a trial bout but Vinesh accepted a direct entry.

Later Vinesh injured her knee and underwent a surgery, opening the door for Antim.

Earlier, Antim scored an easy 11-0 victory over Uzbekistan's Jasmina Immaeva to set up a quarterfinal clash against the Japanese, the world championships winner in 2021 Oslo and 2023 Belgrade.

In other match-ups, Cheema lost his quarterfinal 1-3 to South Korea's Lee Seyeol 1-3, while Mansi was defeated 2-5 by Japan's Sakurai Tsugumi in the last-eight round.

Greco-Roman grappler Naveen, too, lost his quarterfinal contest 0-3 to 25-year-old Chinese Meng Lingzhe.

Bajrang Punia (65kg), who was widely criticised for accepting a direct entry into the Asian Games and the supremely talented Aman Sehrawat (56kg), will be in action on Friday.

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