Asian Games 2018: Kurash silver for Pincky Balhara after judo jolt
Pincky Balhara, 19, won gold medals in judo at the Continental championship for juniors and the Asian Cup earlier this year. But she didn’t qualify in the trials and hence couldn’t make it to the Games’ judo squad. By then, Balhara though had qualified for the kurash squad.Updated: Aug 28, 2018 23:31 IST
Pincky Balhara couldn’t make it to the Asian Games as a judoka but didn’t baulk at the idea of doing that in kurash. On Tuesday, it fetched her a silver medal. Malaprabha Jadav’s bronze made it two medals for India in the form of wrestling popular in central Asia that is debuting in these Games.
Pincky, 19, won gold medals in judo --- a sport her uncle coaxed her to learn for self-defence -- at the Continental championship for juniors and the Asian Cup earlier this year. But she didn’t qualify in the trials and hence couldn’t make it to the Games’ judo squad. By then, Balhara though had qualified for the kurash squad.
“I didn’t know that one player could represent India in one sport only. I never thought of winning a medal here. Instead, I was sure of winning a medal in judo. But luck didn’t favour me (in the selection trials),” said Pincky, who is from the Neb Sarai village in Delhi’s Hauz Khas.
“But now I feel that it was God’s grace which decided my fate. After making it to the final, I wanted to win gold and see the Tricolour fly high” said Pincky, who trains at the Baba Ganganath Judo Academy in Munirka (Delhi).
Pincky lost to Uzbekistan’s Gulnor Sulaymanova 0-10 (on technical superiority) in the final of the -52 kg category in the JCC Assembly Hall here on Tuesday. Jadhav settled for a bronze after losing to Uzbek Gulnor Sulaymanova by an identical scoreline in the semi-final.
In the semi-final, Pincky defeated Uzbekistan’s Oysuluv Abdumajidova 3-0; she beat Indonesian Terry Susanti 3-0 in quarters and Chiawen Tsou of Chinese Taipei in the round of 16.
Pincky said her opponent in the final was the best player in the category. “Even when we were on 20-day training in Uzbekistan, I lost to her on a number of occasions. There, we had problems adjusting initially. Their food habits are different.
“They (Uzbeks) are proper kurash players and their gripping style is also different. I’m a judo player and have taken up the sport recently,” she added.
There were 14 kurash players from India at the Asian Games and five of them, including Pincky, are from one academy. “This medal means a lot to my academy. I hope the sport will soon make it to Olympics and I would be aiming for something much bigger then,” she said.
First Published: Aug 28, 2018 23:31 IST