Star grappler Sakshi Malik bagged a silver medal for India in the ongoing Asian Wrestling Championship after losing to Japan’s Risako Kawai in women’s 60kg category here today. Making a comeback to the international circuit after the Olympics, Sakshi looked a little out of touch as she went down to the Rio Games gold medallist in 63kg category Kawai 10-0 in just 2 minutes and 44 seconds.
Sakshi, who created history by becoming the first Indian wrestler to win an Olympic medal — with a bronze — last year, could not counter the challenge from the strong Japanese grappler. Competing for the first time in women’s 60kg category after jumping up the weight division from 58kg, Sakshi though hardly had to break a sweat en route to the final.
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It was a cake walk for the 24-year-old, who got the better of Nabira Esenbaeva of Uzbekistan 6-2 in the quarterfinal and then defeated Kazakhstan’s Ayaulym Kassymova 15-3 in her semifinal bout to cruise into the gold medal round. Another Indian, Vinesh Phogat also settled for a silver in women’s 55kg category.
Divya Kakran was the third Indian to have made the final in women’s 69kg category. However, Ritu Phogat (women’s 48kg) went down in her semifinal bout to Yui Susaki of Japan 0-9 to lose out on a place in the final but would fight for the bronze medal. Pinki, meanwhile, was the lone Indian to have lost in the quarterfinal round of women’s 53kg to bow out of the tournament early.