Priya becomes only second Indian U20 World Champion, fiery Panghal one win away from second title

10:06 AM Aug 18, 2023 | PTI |

Priya became only the second Indian woman wrestler to become U20 world champion while fast-rising Antim Panghal also stormed into the title clash as unprecedented success followed India at the junior wrestling World Championships here on Thursday.


Unperturbed by the cut suffered above her left eye, Priya easily got the better of Germany’s Laura Celive Kuehn 5-0 in the gold medal bout, which had to be stopped twice due to bleeding suffered by the Indian.

Her lightening fast leg attacks rattled the German who could not make even one point-scoring move.

Antim Panghal had last year become the first Indian woman to emerge junior world champion and she also rejoiced success on Thursday as she is now one win away from defending her title, reaching the 53kg final. Panghal, who hit the headlines for challenging Vinesh Phogat for the Asian Games trials but lost her petition, put up a dominating show to win her three bouts with consummate ease.

For the first time ever, four Indian woman wrestlers reached the gold medal bouts at the junior World Championships as Savita (62kg) and Antim Kundu (65kg) also stayed unbeaten on Thursday. Harshita is also in contention of a bronze in 72kg competition. Priya had reached the 76kg final on Wednesday and lived up to expectations.


Panghal lost just two points en route the final, annihilating her first round opponent from Poland Nikola Monika Wisniewska in mere 68 seconds and followed that up with technical superiority win over China’s Xuejing Liang.

In the semifinals, the wrestler from Hisar district of Haryana outplayed Russia’s Polina Lukina, again winning by technical superiority and not losing a single point.

If Panghal can win on Friday, she will become first woman wrestler to win two world titles.

Another Antim was putting the mat on fire in the 65kg competition. She was Antim Kundu from Titoli village in Rohtak District as she too put up a dominating show to secure a place in the gold medal bout. Using her tremendous power, she overpowered Russia’s Ekaterina Koshkina in the semifinal, winning 7-5.

Before that, the wrestler coached by Kuldeep Kadian, beat Romania’s Maria Magdalena Pantiru 7-2 and pinned Poland’s Alicja Nowosad.

In the 62kg category, U17 World Champion Savita produced inspiring stuff, winning all three bouts ‘by fall’, including one against formidable Japanese Suzu Sasaki. She had began with an easy win over Serbia’s Dunja Lukic.

In the semifinal, she pinned French rival Iris Mathilde Thiebaux.

Harshita also reached the 72kg semifinals but got pinned by Turkey’s Bukrenaz Sert and will now fight for bronze.

Reena was the only Indian wrestler who lost early in the competition. Competing in the 57kg category, she lost her opening round to Ukraine’s Alina Filipovych.

Reena will get a chance to reach the medal round through the repechage route as Alina has reached the final.


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