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Anshu Malik makes history, enters World wrestling final

Source: PTI
Last updated on: October 06, 2021 23:12 IST
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The 19-year-old reigning Asian champion is the first Indian woman wrestler to make it to the World Championships final.

Anshu Malik

IMAGE: India’s Anshu Malik, the reigning Asian champion, will meet Helen Maroulis of the United States in the final of the World Wrestling Championships. Photograph: SAI Media/Twitter

Anshu Malik created history on Wednesday, becoming the first Indian woman wrestler to reach the World Championships final. She outclassed junior European champion Solomiia Vynnyk, even as Sarita Mor lost her semi-final after shocking World champion Linda Morais of Canada earlier in the day.


The 19-year-old Anshu, the reigning Asian champion, controlled the semi-final from the beginning and won by technical superiority in the 57kg category to go into history books.

Only four Indian women wrestlers have won medals at the Worlds and all of them -- Geeta Phogat (2012), Babita Phogat (2012), Pooja Dhanda (2018) and Vinesh Phogat (2019) -- clinched bronze.

Anshu is only the sixth Indian ever to make the World Championships gold medal match, after Bishambar Singh (1967), Sushil Kumar (2010), Amit Dahiya (2013), Bajrang Punia (2018) and Deepak Punia (2019).

India has only one World champion in Sushil till date and Anshu can make history on Thursday.

Anshu's win also ensured India's first medal from this edition of the event. She will face Helen Maroulis of the United States, the Rio Olympics champion and Tokyo 2020 bronze medalist, in the final.

Anshu was clever with her moves. At least thrice, she effected take-down moves from the left of Vynnyk and finished the bout with an exposure move. The Nidani girl started competing in the senior circuit only from last year and has made steady progress since then. She also had qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.

Earlier, she was hardly troubled by Kazakhstan's Nilufar Raimova, whom she beat by technical superiority and later outwitted Mongolia's Davaachimeg Erkhembayar 5-1 in the quarter-finals.

Seasoned Sarita Mor shocked defending champion Linda Morais 8-2 in her opening bout and beat Germany's Sandra Paruszewski 3-1 in the quarter-finals.

Up against the reigning European champion from Bulgaria Bilyana Zhivkova Duodova, she fought her heart out but lost 0-3. She will now fight for a bronze.

The reigning Asian champion had a tough opening bout against the 2019 World champion from Canada but came out trumps with a tactical 8-2 win in the pre-quarter-finals.

A quick take-down move, followed by an expose together with some superb defence put Sarita 7-0 ahead by the time the first period was over.

The only scoring point she conceded was a take-down move in the second period. She did not let Linda play her game, keeping her in lock positions.

Later, the quarter-final against Paruszewski turned out to be a tougher bout, in which the two wresters were largely restricted to standing fight which took a lot out of them.

There was only one point-scoring move, a takedown effected by Sarita late in the match and that sealed the outcome.

In the 72kg, Divya Kakran stunned Kseniia Burakova with a 'win by fall' but lost by technical superiority to Japan's Under-23 world champion Masako Furuich.

The 2020 Asian champion Divya fought her heart out in both the bouts and wriggled out of difficult positions umpteen times but hurried moves and over aggression cost her the quarter-final against the Japanese.

Meanwhile, Kiran (76kg) won her repechage round against Turkey's Aysegul Ozbege to reach bronze play-off but Pooja Jatt (53kg) lost her repechage by fall to Eucuador's Luisa Elizabeth Melendres.

Kiran will face 2020 African champion Samar Amer Ibrahim Hamza.

Ritu Malik (68kg) was blown away by Ukraine's Anastasiia Lavrenchuk in the qualification bout that lasted only 15 seconds. It seemed Ritu was carrying a knee injury.

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