Asian Wrestling Championships: Sarita Mor clinches gold medal in 59kg category
Sealing victory against Mongolia’s Battsetseg Altantsetseg in the dying moments of the six-minute bout does speak volumes about Sarita Mor’s perseverance. With the 59kg freestyle gold on Thursday, the Haryana wrestler not only strengthened her claim for a place in the squad for next month’s Asian Olympic qualifiers but also enhanced India’s gold medal tally to three in the women’s category at the Asian Wrestling Championships. Pinki (55kg) and Divya Kakran (68kg) were the other two who won gold, while Nirmala Devi settled for silver in 50kg.
Elated after the hard-fought win, Mor said she was prepared to give it her best shot. “With the clock ticking, quick thinking at crucial junctures paid off,” she said after her 3-2 win. In an exciting contest, Mor was leading 2-1. With 21 seconds left, the Mongolian won a point to level the scores at 2-all. “I thought this was the right time to play smart. I grabbed my chance to score a point (push out),” said Mor.
The 23 year-old will now aim for a place in 57kg—an Olympic weight category—when the squad for the Asian Olympic qualifiers is selected. However, it will also depend on Anshu Malik’s performance who too will compete in 57kg on Friday. “Let’s wait and see what happens. There is also a possibility of trials before the Olympic qualifier,” said Mor.
Last year Mor had upset Pooja Dhanda, considered an Olympic hopeful, to earn a place in the national squad for the 2019 World Championships.
In the morning session, Kakran had set the ball rolling by winning gold in 68kg. The Indians continued their excellent run in the evening session with Pinki clinching gold with a 2-1 win over Mongolia’s Dulguun Bolormaa, but seasoned Nirmala Devi lost 2-3 to Japan’s Miho Igarashi to settle for silver.
A good performance, said national coach Kuldeep Malik, augurs well for the future. “It will be a big psychological impact as the national squad is gearing up for next month’s Asian Olympic qualifiers,” he added.
On India’s phenomenal performance, foreign coach Andrew Cook said, “The wrestlers have started believing in themselves. After the 2019 World Championships, we changed the training pattern keeping in mind the Asian Championships. We made them train during the day and evening time to set their body clock,” the foreign coach said. “With another month to prepare for the Asian Olympic qualifiers, the results would be much better.”
There was chaos at the venue as two volunteers entered the media centre, following an altercation in the ‘mixed zone’, and threatened this correspondent who wanted to speak to the medal winners. The Wrestling Federation of India assistant secretary, Vinod Tomar, said he would look into the matter.