The Indian Wrestling today found a new star in 24 year old Pooja Dhanda, when she claimed the eloping Bronze medal for India in the 57kg category by beating her Norwegian counterpart Grace 10-7 to end the Women’s wrestling event on a high at the World Wrestling Championship in Budapest, Hungary.
There was no Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik was already out, Ritu Phogat didn’t fare well, amidst all this Pooja stood up to make her presence felt. Dhanda who got to the repechage, after she was knocked down 4-3 by the eventual Gold Medalist and world no.3 Ningning Rong of China yesterday, knew she had to win 2 games to take the copper colour home and she entered the mat with that determination.
In her first bout of the day she bettered her Azerbaijan opponent Alyona Kolesnik 8-3 without losing much sweat. The second & the Bronze Medal fight was supposed to take place in the later part of the evening. But before that a lot had happened in the other recharges featuring Indian women.
Heartbreak for Ritu, Sakshi succumbs
Ritu Phogat (50kg) won her first bout in the repechage round against top seed Romanian rival Emilia Alina 8-8 on the virtue of the last point scored by the Indian. She was then up against Ukraine’s Oksana Livach, where she was stretched and eventually couldn’t sustain the strength of the Ukrainian and lost 5-10.
Sakshi Malik (62kg), who didn’t even reach the bronze medal match, could be the considered the biggest disappointment in the Women’s event. She lost out 2-3 to the Hungarian competitor Marianna Sastin in a close match where she looked far defensive and didn’t look like going for the kill.
Greco-Roman men pushed over easily
Earlier, all the Men’s Greco-Roman wrestlers from India featuring during the day, Vijay (55kg), Gaurav Sharma (63kg), Kuldeep Malik (72kg), Harpreet Singh (82kg), were knocked out of the competition in the first round in their respective categories.
Dhanda does India proud
Having seen the events of the other Indian wrestlers throughout the day, she looked unperturbed by that. And when she had Norwegian opponent Grace Jacob Bullen she looked supremely confident. Though, she conceded the first point to Grace for being defensive, but she came back strongly to knock her opponent down for a 4 pointer which gave her immense confidence. At the break after the 3 minutes play, she was leading 4-1. After the resumption she made first move and which resulted in a 2 point lace lock to stretch her lead to 6-1. The Indian was looking ominous and had another shot at a takedown and came good with it for a 4 pointer to stretch her lead to 10-2. But there was still a minute left in the bout and the Norwegian started to claw back, first with a takedown and then with 2 consecutive push out which brought the score to 10-7. But the surge was too little too late as there were only 2 seconds left in the game, which was easily fended off by Dhanda.
Dhanda became the first woman wrestler to win a medal at the ongoing World Championships and third Indian after Babita and Geeta Phogat won a bronze ach in 2012 championships. The year has been fantastic for her after getting a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games and now a World Championship Bronze.
About the Author
Suposh Sharma, keenly follows Hockey, Athletics, and other Olympic sports. He also has a penchant for writing humour and is an avid traveller