Navjot Kaur scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman to win gold medal at the Senior Asian Wrestling Championships 2018 in Bishkek.
While her semifinal win over Mongolia’s Enkhbayar Tsevegmed was a close affair, a 2-1 verdict, the final saw 27-year-old Navjot initially denying the Japanese points through leg attacks. She led 5-1 before the break, and when her counter move after Imai targeted her right leg resulted in a throwdown to set up a 9-1 win, the Railways wrestler made history by becoming the first Indian woman to clinch a gold medal at the Asian Championships.
“I didn’t want to make a mistake. Before the final, Vinesh told me ‘Didi you can do it and it will be a historic win for Indian wrestling,” Navjot says. The key to her win, according to Navjot, was denying the Japanese points when she tried the leg attack. However, Navjot’s red letter day won’t take her to the Commonwealth Games. She lost to Pinki in the trials which she puts down to a recurring back injury.
Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik took bronze in the women’s 62kg category with a hard fought 10-7 win in the play-off over Ayaulym Kassymova of Kazhakstan.
Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik won a bronze in the 62kg freestyle category after getting the better of Kazakhstan’s Ayaulym Kassymova 10-7 in a tough fight.
The historic achievement was lauded by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports stating, “The year has begun on a great note for Indian sports. Here’s to many more record breaking performances.”
Meanwhile, Sakshi Malik emerged from a hard-fought bronze medal play-off against Kazhakstan’s Ayaulym Kassymova with a 10-7 score line. Vinesh Phogat had to be contend with a silver medal as she lost 2-3 to China’s a Chun Lei in the summit clash of the women’s 50kg freestyle. Another Indian wrestler Sangeeta defeated Jieun Um of Korea to win a bronze medal in the women’s 59kg freestyle event.
India now has a tally of one gold, one silver and four bronze medals in the competition.