Antim Panghal creates history by defending 53-kg title, Savita takes 62-kg gold; India win team championship

10:17 AM Aug 19, 2023 | PTI |

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.


Not only Panghal but Savita (62kg) too crowed herself a world champion as the Indian women’s team won the team title at a world championship for the first time in the history of sport.

Priya Malik had won the 76kg title on Thursday.

In a phenomenal result for Indian wrestling, seven wrestlers from the country won medals, including three gold medals, one silver through Antim Kundu (65kg) and three bronze via Reena (57kg), Arju (68kg) and Harshita (72kg).

Panghal, who hails from Hisar in Haryana, dominated her Ukrainian rival Mariia Yefremova in a 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 the 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.

In the 62kg final, Savita set the mat on fire with a convincing technical superiority win over Venezuela’s A Paola Montero Chirinos.

The wrestler from Rohtak scored points at will. She began with a take-down two-pointer and kept increasing the lead against a seemingly clueless Chirinos.

By the end of first period, Savita had raced to a 9-0 lead and finished the point soon after the start of the second period, without conceding a point.

Antim Kundu did not look in her elements in her final, losing 2-9 to the local favourite Eniko Elekes.

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.

At 5-2, umpire awarded four points to Kazakh wrestler on a move but the Indian got the decision overturned for a 9-4 win.

Earlier during the day, Reena won two repechage rounds to get to the medal round.

Harshita brought curtains on India’s campaign in a befitting manner, pinning Emilia Creciun, her rival from Moldova. She was leading 6-0 at that time when Harshita found a move to put Creciun’s back on the mat to ‘win by fall’.


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