Jakarta: Wrestler Vinesh Phogat ensured India of at least a silver medal after storming into the finals of the women’s freestyle 50-kilogram category at the 2018 Asian Games here on Monday. Vinesh hardly broke into a sweat in her semi-final encounter against Daulatbike Yakshimuratova of Uzbekistan, as the referees took just 75 seconds to declare the Indian the winner by technical superiority (10-0).
Vinesh had earlier registered a comfortable 11-0 victory over South Korea’s Kim Hyungjoo in the quarter-finals, after defeating China’s Sun Yanan by technical superiority 8-2 in the 1/8 finals. But the other Indians in the fray — Sakshi Malik and Pooja Dhanda — failed to win their respective semi-final ties and can now hope only for a bronze.
Up against two-time World Championships medallist North Korea’s Jong Myong Suk, India’s Pooja went down 0-10 meekly in the women’s 57kg category. In the 62kg category, Sakshi was up against her old nemesis Aisuluu Tynybekova of Kyrgyzstan, whom she beat at the Rio Olympics to clinch the bronze.
Sakshi started with a 4-0 lead before Aisuluu came back strongly to first reduce the deficit to 2-4 and then took four straight points to turn the tables and lead 6-4.
After the breather, Sakshi managed to get a point, thanks to a penalty before adding four more points for a takedown from standing position. But a challenge from the Kyrgyzstan grappler reduced Sakshi’s lead to just a point but there was more drama in store as Aisuluu picked two more points to close the contest with a slender 8-7 win.