Gold Rush! Dominating the proceedings in a depleted field, Olympic-bound star Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat won her maiden Asian Championship gold medal after she pinned her rival in the summit clash here on Friday. There was no stopping Vinesh in the absence of the Chinese and Japanese rivals as she cruised to the title without losing a point in the 53kg category. Apart from her, Anshu Malik also bagged the gold medal while Divya Kakran also assured herself of gold with a bout left in her group.
Vinesh has notched up seven podium finishes at the Asian meet over the years, including three silver medals before this edition. Earlier in the day, she won by technical superiority against Mongolia’s Otgonjargal Ganbaatar and Taipei’s Meng Hsuan Hsieh while an injured Hyunyoung Oh from Korea did not turn up for the semifinal.
Vinesh, who had won a bronze in the Delhi edition of the Continental championship last year, moved 6-0 up in the final and finished the bout in style by pinning her rival in the first period itself.
Continuing her impressive rise, Anshu, who booked an Olympic quota for herself only few days back at the same venue, bagged the gold medal in 57kg category after a 3-0 win over her Mongolian opponent Battsetseg Altantsetseg.
The 19-year-old won her first two bouts by technical superiority against Uzbekistan’s Sevara Eshmuratova and Kyrguzstan’s Nazira Marsbek Kyzy to reach the semifinal. Her quick moves and tremendous energy had her rivals gasping for breath.
Sakshi Malik was stunned in the 65kg final by her Mongolian opponent inside the last minute of the bout.
Competing much better than she was in the trials, the Rio Games bronze medallist won her first two bouts by technical superiority and was leading 3-0 against Hanbit Lee when the Korean suffered a knee injury and opted out of the contest. She will fight for gold against Mongolia’s Bolortungalag Zorigt.