Buenos Aires : Indian wrestler Simran settled for a silver in women’s freestyle 43 kg category competition after she lost to Emily Shilson of United States in the final bout at the Youth Olympics here. Simran, who had won a 40kg class bronze in the 2017 Cadet World Championships, lost 6-11 as the American registered a ‘victory by points’ to clinch the gold on Saturday night. Simran conceded a 2-9 lead to Shilson in the first period and that virtually sealed her fate.
The Indian produced a better show in the second period by scoring four points as against two by his American opponent but that proved to be too little, too late to have any impact on the result of the bout. Shilson is the gold medallist in 43kg in the 2018 Cadet World Championships. This is India’s fifth silver along with three gold in the ongoing Youth Olympics. The medals won by shuttler Lakshya Sen (gold), shooter Manu Bhaker (silver) and judoka Tababi Devi (silver) in mixed team events are not counted in the country’s total medal tally as they had paired with athletes of other countries. The other Indian in the wrestling competition, Mansi finished eighth after losing her classification match to Imbabi Ahmed of Egypt who received a ‘victory by fall’ decision. The Indian men’s and women’s teams advanced to the final of hockey 5s competition after registering emphatic wins over their respective opponents. India defeated hosts Argentina 3-1 in the men’s semi-final match on Saturday night while the women’s team beat China 3-0 in their last-four match.
The Indian men face Malaysia in the summit clash while their women counterparts take on hosts Argentina in the final. This is the first time India is taking part in a hockey competition in the Youth Olympics. The country did not feature in the earlier two editions. Hockey 5s, the five-a-side version, is played on a pitch smaller than the normal 11-player game and it was introduced in the 2014 Singapore Youth Olympics. In the men’s semi-final match, Sudeep Chirmako (12th and 18th minute) and Rahul Kumar Rajbhar (3th) scored for India while captain Facundo Zarate found the target for Argentina. India took the lead through Rahul Kumar but Argentina were quick to equalise as they scored through Facundo Zarate in the 4th minute. Both the teams had chances in the remaining six minutes of the first period but their goalkeepers made some fine saves to keep the scores locked at 1-1 at half-time.
In the second period, India maintained pressure and benefited from it as they took the lead in the 12th minute through Sudeep Chirmako who produced a fine finish to swing the match in India’s favour. Indian goalkeeper Prashant Chauhan kept his team in the lead as he was called into action again in the next few minutes to deny the hosts of an equaliser. Indian attackers also created chances and were successful again in the 18th minute as Sudeep Chirmako scored his second goal of the match to give a two-goal advantage for his side. Argentina tried to make a comeback in the dying minutes but the Indians stood firm and denied the home side any more goal. In the women’s semi-final, India outplayed their Chinese opponents with goals coming from Mumtaz Khan (1st minute), Reet (5th) and Lalremsiami (13th). India dominated the match right from the start as they put pressure on the Chinese defence by keeping possession. The Indian team was rewarded for their efforts as Mumtaz Khan scored just after 52 seconds. Even after that, India kept the possession and created several chances from inside and outside the 11-metres area.
The 5th minute saw Indian midfielder Reet make a fierce shot from the half-way line, which beat the Chinese goalkeeper Xinyi Zhu on her right and gave her side a 2-0 lead. China tried to create opportunities in the remaining few minutes but Indian defenders were up to their task as their side took the two-goal advantage into the half-time break. India dominated the second period as well, finding space in the opposition’s half and creating chances for themselves. In the 13th minute, it was forward Lalremsiami who was stopped from taking a shot by a Chinese player, which meant that India were awarded a Penalty Challenge. Lalremsiami converted it as she scored her eighth goal of the competition and gave India a 3-0 lead.