On Thursday, wrestler Divya Kakran bagged a gold medal at the Asian Wrestling Championships against junior world champion Naruha Matsuyuki and became the second Indian woman to do so with a dominating performance. The competition (arranged in a round robin format) saw Divya win all of her bouts in the 68kg category; while the other participants from the country also enjoyed a wonderful outing with Sarita Mor (59kg), Pinki (55kg) and Nirmala Devi (50kg) assuring themselves with silver by reaching finals in respective categories.
Due to the absence of top Chinese and Japanese wrestlers, Divya who won the bronze medal in the Asian Games, knocked out Kazakhstan’s Albina Kairgelinova and Mongolia’s Delgermaa Enkkhsaikhan in the primary two rounds. In the third round, she faced Azoda Esbergenova of Uzbekistan, seeing her off only in just 27 seconds.
The final against the Japanese junior world champion started off in style as she led 4-0 in no time thanks to some strong left-leg attacks. Even though the Japanese made it 4-4 in the second period, Divya pinned her opponent and celebrated her victory with a fall.
“I had to win by fall to get five points from all my bouts because the Japanese was winning all her bouts by big margins, so I took risk for big wins. My coach had said that I don’t have to go for big throws all the time but I went for it” she said in the post-match interview.
“I took risk and it paid off by God’s grace. “I was told that If I get trapped, I have to play safe. I found a way to come out. That girl is good in single leg attacks and it is my weak area. So I became more attacking,” she added.
When asked whether the absence of the Chinese wrestler helped, she quickly replied,
“Yes, it did benefit. But if you have a 5-wrestler group it becomes even tougher, you have fight everyone and win big. I won 4 bouts within 2 hours. It was tough on body but good thing is I have improved on my range, I made all kinds of attacks, Irani, Kheme, single-led, double leg attacks. I have spent hours on practicing these moves. Now I want to qualify for the Olympics and that too with a gold.”
Back in 2018 Navjot Kaur became the first Indian woman to win top the podium at the Asian Championships in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in the 65kg category.
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