Friday, March 24, 2023

Vinesh, Sakshi book CWG berths

Sakshi Malik finally found a way to defeat Sonam Malik and sealed her place in the Indian team for the Commonwealth Games while Vinesh Phogat did just enough against Antim to emerge winner in the 53kg category trials here on Monday.
Sonam, who recovered from a left leg injury, had made it a habit of beating the 2016 Olympic bronze medallist at the WFI trials but the day belonged to Sakshi, who beat the young wrestler 8-1.
Later in the final, Sakshi outplayed Manisha 7-1 to ensure that she will be on the plane to Birmingham, where the Games will begin on July 28.
Manisha had ousted Sangeeta Phogat, wife of Bajrang Punia, 7-5 in the semifinals.
Vinesh, another star who has been struggling right from the Tokyo Games, began well as she did not concede a point till the final.
In the final against Antim, she was trailing 0-3 but found a two-point scoring move to reduce the deficit. Antim got a bit defensive and tried to maintain distance. In this attempt, she fleed the mat and Vinesh challenged the referee’s decision not to award a point.
She won the challenge and since hers was the last scoring point, she won the trials.
It will be the first big-ticket event after her Tokyo Games debacle, where she made an early exit after entering the event as the favourite. What followed her was a harrowing time where she was suspended by WFI for indiscipline during the Games.
After WFI lifted the suspension, Vinesh found the going tough due to mental health issues. She pulled out of the World Championship trials in August last year and has not competed since.
Expectedly, Anshu Malik (57kg), Divya Kakran (68kg) won their trials.
In the final between two World Championship medallists, Anshu beat formidable Sarita Mor 2-1 while Divya won by technical superiority against Nisha Dahiya.
Pooja Gehlot (50kg) and Pooja Sihag (76kg) claimed the other berths in the Indian team.
The men’s trials will be held on Tuesday.

Sakshi Malik

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