Teenager Anshu Malik loses in wrestling World Cup final
Anshu Malik’s excellent run in the Individual Wrestling World Cup ended in the final on Wednesday after she lost the 57kg gold-medal contest 1-5 to Anastasia Nichita of Moldova.
The 19-year-old ensured India’s first medal in the tournament in Bulgaria, though she found Anastasia, 21, tactically superior and more powerful, the 59kg winner at this year’s European championships having entered a lower division in the Serbian capital.
Anshu could not untangle herself from a firm hand grip of her opponent, who led 3-0 at the end of the first round before turning a defensive position into offense to add another two points.
India’s other competitor for the day, Ravi Kumar Dahiya, who has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in 57kg, lost in the quarterfinals.
Anshu’s father Dharamvir, a former international wrestler, was satisfied with the performance, saying it would give a big boost to the 2017 world cadet and 2019 asian junior champion ahead of the Olympic qualifying cycle.
“It was a tough match, but she didn’t give up,” Dharamvir said from Nidani village, in Haryana’s Jind district. “Her overall performance in the competition was good. When she comes back, we will discuss how to go forward in the next meet.”
In February, Anshu had won the Asian championships bronze in New Delhi.
Her performances in the earlier rounds showed the youngster’s determination in the first global event to be held since the lockdown in March disrupted world sporting calendar. The event is a substitute after the world championships could not be held due to the pandemic.
Anshu Malik beat Azerbaijan’s Alyona Kolesnik 4-2 and then Germany’s Laura Mertens 3-1 in the quarterfinals. She had rallied to beat Russia’s Veronika Chumikova 7-4 in the semi-finals on Tuesday.
Dahiya made a mistake that proved costly against Hungary’s Gamzatgadzsi Halidov in men’s 57kg quarterfinal. He led 2-0 in the opening three minutes of the bout, but Halidov levelled 2-all. The Indian again led 4-2 only for his rival to go 6-4 up.
Dahiya won bronze in the 2019 world championships to secure his Olympic berth. His coach Virendra Kumar wasn’t happy. “His body language hinted that he was sluggish on the mat and that was disadvantage as the clock was ticking away.”
In men’s 74kg, former world bronze medallist, Narsingh Yadav, in his first event after a four-year doping ban, lost 9-10 in the first round to Osman Kubliay Cakici of Germany. His preparation was hampered by a week’s quarantine as he was asymptomatic for Covid-19. He left after getting a negative report.