Sarita stamps authority in tough 59kg event, youngsters make mark at Senior Nationals

Gonda (Uttar Pradesh), Nov 12 (Wrestling News) A tactically superior Sarita Mor bagged the 59kg title with a commanding victory over comeback-girl Geeta Phogat on a day when established names such as Divya Kakran and Sakshi Malik bit the dust at the National Wrestling Championship here on Friday. The 59kg category was one of the toughest in the women's competition with three World Championships medallists in the fray for the title.

Sarita entered the event fresh from her World bronze medal-winning performance while struggling but strong Pooja Dhanda (2018 World bronze winner) needed to get back his old touch.

Making it a tougher bracket was 2012 World bronze winner Geeta, who returned to competitive wrestling after three years following maternity break.

Sarita dominated all her matches en route the title clash as only Pooja Dhanda tested her. She won two matches by fall and one by technical superiority.

As it was anticipated, 26-year-old Sarita and 32-year Geeta entered the final in which the Railways wrestler emerged champion with a 8-0 scoreline.

Sarita was sharp, had more power in her moves in the final against Geeta, who conceded that she let her rival call the shots.

Sarita was aggressive from the beginning while Geeta remained defensive which hurt her chances. Sarita kept tightening her grip in the match, building her lead with move after move.

Incidentally, the last time Geeta competed at the nationals was in 2017 when she had beaten Sarita in the gold medal match.

"I was high on motivation after World Championship. I have worked on my attack a lot in the recent and I am glad I could execute what I had practiced," Sarita said after winning her seventh gold at the nationals.

"I also wanted to congratulate Geeta, who really had a great comeback. It is not easy but she was good. I had analysed her game along with my husband Rahul (Maan) and coach Kuldip Malik, and played accordingly. I love playing ground wrestling and that is what I did today." Geeta said the 8-0 scoreline in the final is hurting her even as overall she is happy with silver.

"Win or defeat does not matter but the manner of defeat is what is hurting. I just could not play my game in final, I let Sarita dictate terms," she said.

"On my comeback I did not find any issue with my endurance level or speed but I need tactical work in game." Geeta's younger sister Sangeeta won the title in the 62kg division, in which Sakshi Malik was knocked out by Manisha with a 6-1 score.

The 2016 Olympic bronze winner has been struggling for some time and is getting beaten in domestic competitions. Sangeeta was tested by Punjab's Loveleen Kaur in her opening bout, prevailing 8-8 on criteria but got better with each match. She is also making a comeback after a long time following a knee injury.

Several times Sangeeta made leg attacks, holding the ankles of her opponents but could not complete the moves. She was certainly not as sharp as she would have liked.

Another big name to bite the dust was U23 World Championship bronze medallist Divya Kakran. She was pinned by eventual gold winner Pinki.

Kulvinder took silver while the second bronze was taken by Anuradha.

Country's next crop also impressed as junior world championship bronze medallist Simran and U23 world silver winner Shivani Pawar knocked a few big names on their way to 50kg title clash.

Shivani beat Tokyo Olympics participant Seema Bisla 7-2 in semifinals before taking the gold by pinning Simran.

With her sound technique and stamina, Shivani showed a lot of promise for future while Simran too has been making a steady progress. 

Also Read : WFI has its way, sports NGO JSW agrees on tripartite contracts with wrestlers

News Source : PTI


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