Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik End Season With National Titles
Sakshi Malik won the national title in the 62kg category on Saturday.
Sakshi Malik won the national title in the 62kg category on Saturday.(Photo: WFI)

Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik End Season With National Titles

Vinesh Phogat capped a highly successful season by grabbing the 57kg national title while Sakshi Malik ended a terrible year by emerging champion in the 62kg at the Tata Motors Senior National Championship on Saturday.

Vinesh has already stamped her class at the international level by winning the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games titles and this outing was just about getting some match competition under her belt after missing the Worlds due to an elbow injury.

On the way to her sixth National title, Vinesh conceded just two points in five bouts. She had earlier won five Nationals in a row from 2012 to 2016 in different categories.

Vinesh, who usually competes in the 50kg category, elected to fight the 57kg event at the nationals and had prepared herself for the higher weight category with intense sessions against heavier sparring partners on Friday evening.

I could compete as I wanted. I wanted some competitive matches before the next season. Also I felt no pain in the entire campaign, that’s a big gain personally since I was competing in a higher category.
Vinesh Phogat
(Photo: WFI)

Sakshi Malik also bagged a gold in the 62 kg category, without losing a point, to close out a below par year for her. Out of her five bouts, she got a walkover in the first round while the final bout ended in just 25 seconds as her opponent Anita conceded the match due to a left knee injury.

Sakshi began with a walkover from fellow Railways grappler Apoorva and then overwhelmed UP's Pooja Tomar, winning by technical superiority. The dominance continued with Sakshi outclassing Manipur's A Luwang Khombi in just 43 seconds. The Olympic medallist maintained the winning run by outwitting Haryana's Poona 11-0 to secure her place in the summit clash.

This is not something big but I will take it. There was not much competition because most of the rivals were junior but any competition is good. I am more focused on next season and will start with Asian Championship.
Sakshi Malik

Ritu Malik, who had a fairly good run this year, could not even make it to the final in the 65kg, losing a close semi-final to the very impressive Anita, the 2010 CWG gold medallist. She settled for a bronze after holding off Reshma of Maharashtra.

The other champions to emerge in different categories were Indu Chaudhary (50kg), Pinki (55kg), Kiran Bishnoi (72kg).

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