Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, Deepak Punia win gold; Anshu Malik bags silver; Divya Kakran, Mohit Grewal clinch bronze

Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, Deepak Punia win gold; Anshu Malik bags silver; Divya Kakran, Mohit Grewal clinch bronze

 Bajrang Punia was a class apart while defending his title before Sakshi Malik produced a sensational gold medal winning effort as Indian wrestlers grabbed six medals, including three golds, at the Commonwealth Games on Friday.

Deepak Punia (86kg) also contributed in swelling India’s medal tally by winning the men’s free style gold but birthday girl Anshu Malik (57kg) had to be content with a silver medal in her maiden CWG appearance.

Divya Kakran and Mohit Grewal won bronze in the 68kg and 125kg categories respectively. Karan clinched the bronze winning the medal play-off in just 26 seconds against Tonga’s Tiger Lily.

Courtesy three golds, India moved to fifth position in the medal tally ahead of Scotland.

Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist Bajrang Punia, spurred on by cries of Bharat Mata ki jai from a boisterous crowd, crushed Canada’s Lachlan McNeil to win 9-2 and defend his Commonwealth Games wrestling gold in the men’s freestyle 65kg at the Coventry Arena on Friday.

Lachlan was put on the passivity clock. Bajrang effected a two-point takedown while using explosive strength to strike his opponent off-balance. Pushing the Canadian outside the limits of the mat, Bajrang led 4-0 at the break.

McNeil got his first points with a double leg trap to have Punia face down on the mat. Incidentally, those were the only two points Bajrang lost enroute the final.

Later, Punia, featuring in his third Games, showed his authority by grabbing the Canadian by the leg on two consecutive occasions to walk him out of the mat.

Anshu Malik won the silver medal in the women’s freestyle 57kg as she went down fighting to Nigeria’s Odunayo Folasade Adekuoroye.

Anshu tried the underhook against her taller opponent to avoid the Nigerian from getting a leg-hold. Adekuoroye, who displayed an excellent defensive game, got the first two points by tying Anshu’s legs up.

Anshu, who won her first point owing to Adekuoroye’s passivity, only conceded further as her opponent led with a double leg to go round the back.

Anshu finally pocketed two points in the dying moments of the game with a frantic leg grab but that wasn’t enough. A visibly crestfallen Anshu refused to get up from the mat after the bout.

World Wrestling Championships 2019 silver medallist Deepak set up a mouthwatering final clash against Pakistan’s Muhammad Inam in the 86kg category.

Deepak picked up his first point in the semifinal, courtesy Alexander Moore’s passivity.

With neither wrestler looking to commit in the opening moments of the round, Deepak struck, locking his opponent’s leg. Moore, in an effort to do the same, failed to see the round end 3-1 in favour of the Indian.

Sakshi reverses trend, wins after trailing

For Sakshi, who has been battling for relevance for long, it was an ideal opportunity to get some confidence back and she used it to optimum level in the 62kg contest by winning her maiden CWG gold.

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 take down move.

The U-23 World champion effected another take down to go into the break with a 4-0 lead.

Sakshi, who of late, has been seen succumbing to pressure reversed the trend this time as she initiated a right leg attack to throw the Canadian on the mat.

From there she used power to pin Gonzalez, turning the table on her rival in a sensational manner. She had won a bronze in 2018 in Gold Coast and a silver in 2014 Glasgow Games.

India’s Sakshi Malik holds the tricolor after winning against Canada’s Ana Godinez Gonzalez in the final of the Women’s Freestyle Wrestling 62kg category event at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham on August 5, 2022.

India’s Sakshi Malik holds the tricolor after winning against Canada’s Ana Godinez Gonzalez in the final of the Women’s Freestyle Wrestling 62kg category event at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham on August 5, 2022.
| Photo Credit: PTI

You are role model for youth: President to wrestler Sakshi Malik

President Droupadi Murmu on Friday applauded wrestler Sakshi Malik for winning a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and said she is a role model for the youth, especially girls.

Malik won the gold medal in women’s 62 kg category.

“Historic gold medal won by Sakshi Malik in wrestling at #CommonwealthGames. She overcame stiff challenge and made Indians proud. You are a role model for our youth, especially girls. May you go from strength to strength. Heartiest congratulations!,” the President tweeted. 

(With PTI inputs)



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