Birmingham, Aug 06, 2022: 6 Indian wrestlers competed on the opening day of the competition at the Commonwealth Games 2022 and all 6 of them won medals. Olympic medalists Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik along with young Deepak Punia won Gold medals while Anshu Malik won Silver.Divya Kakran and Mohit Grewal won bronze medals as Indian wrestlers continued their dominance at the Commonwealth Games.
4 wrestlers, including Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Ravi Kumar Dahiya and Vinesh Phogat, will be in action on Saturday, the second and final day of the wrestling competition in Birmingham.
DEEPAK DETHRONES PAKISTAN’S INAM
Deepak Punia (86kg) stole the show as the 23-year-old Indian wrestler, who had missed a bronze in the Tokyo Olympics by a whisker, defeated 2-time gold medalist Muhammad Imam of Pakistan in the final to win his maiden Gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.
BAJRANG CRUISES TO GOLD
Bajrang Punia won his 3rd CWG medal and his second successive Gold medal in the men’s 65kg competition. Such was Bajrang’s dominance that he conceded only 2 poins throughout his 4 matches en route to the top step of the podium in Birmingham.
The 28-year-old defending champion beat Naurau’s Lowe Bingham and Mauritius’ Jean Guyliane Joris Bandou ’by fall’ before winning by technical superiority against England’s Geroge Ramm.
Canada’s Lachlan Maurice McNeil fought well against Bajrang but the Indian was far superior in technique and stamina as he won the bout 9-2.
Bajrang has been struggling to play freely since last year and his over defensive tactics put a question-mark over his ability to extend his dominance in international arena but on Friday he made his moves without inhibition.
EMOTIONAL SAKSHI WINS GOLD
Sakshi Malik was emotional as the Indian national anthem played at the Birmingham wrestling arena. The Rio Olympics bronze medalist had been going through a difficult period as she failed to make the Tokyo Games and was also removed from the Target Olympic Podium (TOPS) scheme.
However, she won her maiden Commonwealth Games Gold on Friday in the women’s 62kg.
She began by pinning home team wrestler Kelsey Barnes and followed that with a technical superiority win against Cameroon’s Berthe Emilienne.
In the final against Ana Paula Godinez Gonzalez, Sakshi trailed 0-4 after the Canadian scored on counter-attack. Sakshi’s right leg attack got wrong as she lost position, allowing her rival to complete a takedown move.
The U-23 World champion affected another takedown to go into the break with a 4-0 lead.
ANSHU MAKES BIRTHDAY SPECIAL
Anshu, who has taken rapid strides in her career, reached the women’s 57kg final with similar dominance but ended up second-best with a silver medal.
The Nidani wrestler, who turned 21 on Friday, won by technical superiority against Australia’s Irene Symeonidis and Sri Lanka’s Nethmi Ahinsa Fernando Poruthotage.
It did not take Anshu much time to measure her opponents. Her trademark aggression and quality was too hot to handle for her rivals till the gold medal bout.
The World Championship silver medallist though could not breach the defence of Nigeria’s Odunayo Folasade Adekuoroye, losing the gold bout 3-7. The Nigerian won her 3rd successive Gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.
She left the mat with tears in her eyes as it was not the birthday present she wanted to give herself.
DIVYA, MOHIT WIN BRONE
Divya had got a tough 68kg draw as she found Tokyo Olympic silver medallist and 11-time African champion Blessing Oborududu from Nigeria in her campaign-opener.
The first round was worth a final though but Divya was outplayed by the formidable Nigerian. The Asian Games bronze medallist won her repechage round against Blandine Nyeh Ngiri by fall.
Divya was at her best in the bronze medal bout as she defeated Cocker Lemalie Tiger Lily inside the first minute via fall.
Mohit Grewal, meanwhile, won bronze in the men’s 125kg category by defeating Aaron Anthony Johnson in the bronze medal bout via fall. He lost the opening round but shot back into mental contention after winning the repechage.
Courtesy: India Today