Wrestling: talented young wrestler last panghal Vinesh Phogat proved her mettle by winning the 53kg women’s category in the trials held at the Asian Games here on Saturday, but shortly after her success, the Delhi High Court dismissed her petition challenging the exemption given to Vinesh Phogat in this category. Mansi Ahlawat pulled off a upset in 57kg to seal her place in the Indian team for the Asian Games. He beat two World Championship medalists in this category. Nineteen-year-old Panghal performed brilliantly in the 53kg category, winning all her bouts without any problems.
The latter got a bye in the first round and after that the 2022 U-20 world champion started with a 7-2 win over Tamanna. She entered the semi-finals after winning by technical superiority against Neha. The latter put up an even stronger performance in the finals and defeated her rival Manju in less than two minutes. However, Vinesh Phogat will represent India in the Asian Games to be held in Hangzhou, China as the selection committee has already given direct entry to her and men’s freestyle wrestler Bajrang Punia (65kg).
After registering the victory here, the latter said, ‘I won the trial fairly. Why should I be a standby player, I have won the trial. One who did not compete should be a standby player in 53kg. My petition has been rejected (in the court) but I will not stop, I will keep fighting, we will go to the Supreme Court. He said, ‘If he keeps getting direct admission like this, how will anyone know how good we are. We’ll keep trying. My coach will decide what we are going to do next, but the fight will go on. In such a situation, what is the meaning of winning my three matches. The last said, ‘I know she is very good and she has many medals but she will have to fight against us in the trial.’ She said that now she will prepare for the World Championship Trials.
The women’s 57kg category turned out to be very competitive at the trials as it featured World Championship silver medalist Anshu Malik and World bronze medalist Sarita Mor. Both the champion players were already ready to clash in the first round which was being considered as the final before the final. Sarita Mor took a 5-0 lead against Anshu, who is returning from injury. However, the 20-year-old Anshu made a comeback with ‘take-down’ and ‘gut wrench move’. This reduced the gap to 4-5 but Sarita used her strength in the last moments to win.
However, Sarita was later upset by Mansi Ahlawat, bronze medalist of the Under-23 World Championship, defeating her 9-6. Another youngster from the other side of the draw, Seeto, made it to the finals by winning against Pinky and Neetu. Mansi had no problem in defeating Sito in the final. Sonam Malik made a spectacular comeback after suffering a left elbow injury and won the trials in the 62 kg category. Manisha was equally impressive in the same draw but the wrestler from Gohana emerged as the winner.
Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Pooja Gehlot, after easily defeating Shivani and Neelam in the 50 kg category, defeated veteran Nirmala Devi to seal her ticket to the Games. Pooja said, ‘My practice and hard work paid off. Now my target is the Asian Games, but my ultimate target is to compete in the Olympics. Pooja said that no wrestler should be allowed to represent the country in major international competitions without attending trials.
He said, ‘No one should be allowed to participate (in competitions) without a trial. Every player works very hard. Trial should be conducted and only then someone should get a chance to represent the country. Pooja said, ‘Selecting someone without trial is injustice to junior wrestlers.’ Radhika created a ruckus by defeating Nisha Dahiya in the 68 kg weight category. After this, she defeated Priyanka 9-8 in a close match in the final.
Divya Kakran usually competes in 68kg but she has now decided to challenge in 76kg. However, she could not qualify for the Asian Games. She lost to the experienced Kiran in the final of this weight category. In the Greco Roman category, Gyanendra (60kg), Neeraj (67kg), Vikas (77kg), Sunil Kumar (87kg), Narinder Cheema (97kg) and Naveen (130kg) won their respective trials to make the Asian Games team. The men’s freestyle trial will be held on Sunday.