Debutants Jaipur Ninjas began their campaign on a bright note as they defeated NCR Punjab Royals 5-2 in the second tie of Pro Wrestling League Season 2 here today. Jaipur Ninjas, who won the toss, decided to block the 65 kg men’s category. Punjab, led by 2016 Olympics gold medalist Vladimir Khinchegashvili, won the toss and blocked the 48 kg women’s category.
Bollywood star Sunny Deol, who was rooting for the Punjab team, added to the excitement to action-packed evening at the K D Jadhav Indoor Stadium here. The first bout was contested between Jitendra from Punjab and Georgian Jakob Makarashvili from Jaipur in the 74kg men’s category. Jitendra began positively, scoring points early on before Makarashvili staged a comeback, banking on his experience and power to outdo Jitendra. Jaipur won the first bout 12-4.
19-year-old Manju Kumari was the next grappler from Punjab, taking on Pooja Dhanda of Jaipur. Initially, both wrestlers were unable to score points even as Pooja gave away one point to Manju due to passivity. In the second round, Pooja came back with more purpose, scoring four points to win the 58 kg women’s bout and give Jaipur a 2-0 lead in the tie.
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The surprise package of the evening was the duel between Jaipur’s Utkarsh Kale and Punjab captain Vladimir Khinchegashvili in the 57 kg men’s category. Utkarsh began aggressively, scoring points early on and making life difficult for his much-experienced opponent. Even as Vladimir bounced back and got the lead, Utkarsh showed no signs of nerves as he kept applying pressure on the Georgian, but went down fighting in the end. The third bout was ultimately won by Punjab with an 8-5 margin.
Jaipur, however, continued to extend their lead in the match, with 2016 Olympics Bronze medalist Jenny Fransson beating Punjab’s Vasilisa Marzaliuk in a closely fought encounter. The Swedish grappler eventually overcame a stiff challenge from Vasilisa, as Jaipur soared past Punjab 3-1.
The fifth bout was contested in the 70 kg men’s category and featured wrestlers Vinod Kumar Omprakash from Jaipur and Pankaj Rana from Punjab. Although Pankaj appeared to be dominating in the first round, Vinod came back strongly in the next three minutes to win the bout 5-3 to help his team take an unassailable 4-1 lead in the tie.