Wrestling: Antim Panghal creates history by defending 53kg title, Reena grabs bronze

Antim Panghal on Friday created history by becoming the first Indian woman wrestler to win back-to-back U20 world titles as she defended her 53kg crown, combining her tremendous agility and strength for a stupendous feat. Panghal, who hails from Hisar in Haryana, dominated her Ukrainian rival Mariia Yefremova in her facile 4-0 win. She fought with such ferocity and authority that in the entire tournament she conceded only two points.

That she is the one for the future in this category was evident.

She proved that it was not overconfidence when she challenged Vinesh Phogat for Asian Games trials, repeating time and again that she could beat the decorated senior wrestler in the trials and she should not have been given a direct entry.

Panghal had become first Indian woman grappler last year to win a junior world championship title and has already had a smooth transition to the senior circuit.

She did not give an inch to Yefremova, foiling her leg attacks with remarkable presence of mind.

Panghal was quick with her movements and her double-leg attacks, employed with her tremendous strength had the Ukrainian gasping. She sealed the bout with a right-leg attack which she converted into a take-down move. Reena took the 57kg bronze with a 9-4 win over Kazakshtan’s Shugyla Omirbek.

She was leading 5-0 and survived last-minute drama to seal her place on the podium. Earlier during the day, she won two repechage rounds to get to the medal round.

Savita (62kg) and Antim Kundu (65kg) are also in contention for gold medals.



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