Wrestler Anshu Malik made history today by becoming the first Indian woman to win a silver at the World Championships. Despite her loss by fall to former Olympic champion Helen Maroulis of the USA in the 57kg final in Oslo, Norway, she did the country proud with her achievement.
Only four Indian women wrestlers have won medals at the World Championships and all of them – Geeta Phogat (2012), Babita Phogat (2012), Pooja Dhanda (2018) and Vinesh Phogat (2019) – have clinched bronze.
Anshu also became only the sixth Indian ever to make the World Championships final after Bishambar Singh (1967), Sushil Kumar (2010), Amit Dahiya (2013), Bajrang Punia (2018) and Deepak Punia (2019). India has only one world champion in Sushil Kumar till date.
Coming into the match after becoming India’s first-ever woman finalist at the World Championship, the 19-year-old began in an aggressive fashion with positive intent. She led 1-0 at the breather but the bout changed in dramatic fashion in the second.
Maroulis got Anshu in her arm grip and pulled her down to complete a take-down move to take a 2-1 lead. She kept Anshu’s right arm under a tight grip and kept twisting to get an ‘exposure’ point, making it 4-1.
Anshu, the reigning Asian Champion, was in terrible pain but the American did not loosen her grip and had Anshu’s back on the mat to win by fall. Anshu needed medical help immediately after the bout as she was almost in tears.
Nevertheless, it was a heroic performance from the Nidani wrestler, who became the only fifth Indian woman to win a worlds medal and so far the best one.
Meanwhile, Divya Kakran (72kg) lost her repechage round in the morning session to Mongolia’s Davaanasan Enkh Amar and expectedly, the Greco Roman wrestlers put up a disappointing show.
Sandeep (55kg), Vikas (72kg), Sajan (77kg) and Harpreet Singh (82kg) bowed out of the competition. Only Sajan managed to win one bout while the other three lots their respective openers.
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