CWG 2022: India's Anshu Malik wins silver in women's 57kg freestyle wrestling

Published on Aug 05, 2022 07:42 PM IST
  • The summit clash was an absolute thriller with the Indian hoping to make a dramatic come-from-behind win, but eventually had to content with silver in her maiden appearance at the CWG while the Nigerian completed a hat-trick of gold medals at the Games.
Anshu Malik
Anshu Malik

India's Anshu Malik handed India its first medal in wrestling at the Commonwealth Games 2022 after she lost to defending champion Odunayo Folasade Adekuoroye of Nigeria in women's freestyle 57kg final on Friday in Birmingham. The summit clash was an absolute thriller with the Indian hoping to make a dramatic come-from-behind win, but eventually had to be content with silver in her maiden appearance at the CWG while the Nigerian completed a hat-trick of gold medals at the Games. Nethi Poruthotage of Sri Lanka, whom Anshu had defeated in the semi-final, claimed the bronze medal after defeating Australia's Irene Symeonidis in the first bronze medal face-off while Canada's Hannah Taylor claimed the second bronze after defeating Sophia Omutichio Ayieta of Kenya.

Anshu had begun her campaign on Friday against Symeonidis, after earning a bye in the Round of 16. She had taken just 64 seconds to wrap up the tie, winning via technical superiority against the Aussie and scripted a similar dominant win against Sri Lanka's Poruthotage in the semi-final to proceed to the final in her maiden CWG appearance.

However, Anshu was up against a tougher opponent in Adekuoroye, who had won the gold twice at the CWG before. The Indian conceded the first points of the bout with the Nigerian holding strong in the defense, not allowing Anshu an opportunity to find the gap. Adekuoroye quickly earned two more points with a leg attack, inflicting further damage on Anshu's aim for the elusive gold.

Adekuoroye remained dominant in the second period, as she earned another two points before Anshu managed to find the gap and inflict an attack on the Nigerian which earned her four points. Her coach however challenged the call, but lost the appeal, resulting in Anshu settling for 4-6 defeat.

Anshu has been suffering from a few niggles but her medal assurance for India in wrestling was never a surprise. Ever since Anshu made her debut in the senior circuit, her transition has been remarkable. Her technique, power and self belief has been the key reason behind her success. In 2020, she had bagged the bronze medal in 57 kg event at the Asian Wrestling Championships in New Delhi before finishing as the silver medallist at the 2020 Individual Wrestling World Cup held in Belgrade.

A year later, she finished top of the podium in Asian Wrestling Championships, but had finished third at the same tournament in 2022. Her biggest achievement however had come in 2021 in Oslo, when Anshu had become the first ever Indian women wrestler to win a silver medal at the World Championships.

More to follow…

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