Big Upset at Wrestling Trials, Sakshi Malik Beaten By Sonam Malik
Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik who lost in the national trials to Sonam Malik.
Two-time World Cadet champion Sonam Malik stunned Rio Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi Malik while another promising junior Anshu Malik knocked out 2018 World Championship medallist Pooja Dhanda to seal their places in the Indian team for the Asian Championship, on Saturday.
Pitted against heavyweights in their respective first round, both Sonam and Anshu cared little for reputations, fighting fearlessly.
Competing in her first trials at the senior level, Sonam was trailing 4-6 in the second period but produced a sensational four-point throw with just three seconds left in the bout to make it 10-10 and win on criteria of scoring the last point.
The 18-year-old then defeated Radhika 4-1 in the final to seal her spot in the Indian team in the 62kg category.
Hailing from a small village Madina in Haryana's Sonepat, Sonam is coached by Ajmer Malik in Gohana.
“I was not nervous. I wanted to show my game against the Olympic medal winner. There is a lot of difference of level on the junior and the senior circuit. These wrestlers are very experienced. I am still learning from them.”Sonam Malik
Her coach Ajmer Malik said, "We told her you have noting to lose and everything to gain, so express yourself freely. She fought like she trains. It is a big win for her and will certainly boost her confidence."
Junior Asian champion Anshu, who trains with Jagdeesh, first downed 2018 World bronze winner Pooja and then won her final against Mansi (4-4) in the 57kg category.
There were no surprises in other categories with Vinesh Phogat (53kg) and Divya Kakran (68kg) easily winning in their respective bouts.
Vinesh defeated Nandini by technical superiority but Divya had to beat at least three wrestlers.
She first beat Nisha Dahiya, then avenged her national championship loss to Anita Sheoran and finally beat Suman to lock her place in the national side.
Nirmala Devi (50kg) and Kiran Godara (76kg) were other wrestlers to win the trials.
The winners will compete at the first ranking series of the event in Rome (January 15-18) followed by Asian Championships in New Delhi (February 18-23) and if they can win medals at these two events, they will represent India at the Asian Olympic qualifiers, to be held in Xian from March 27 to 29.
Trials for four non-olympic categories will be held next week.
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