Historic Triumphs for Indian Women Wrestlers at U20 World Championships

On August 18, Antim Panghal etched her name in history by becoming the first Indian female wrestler to secure consecutive U20 world titles. She masterfully defended her 53kg crown, showcasing an impressive blend of agility and strength, resulting in an extraordinary achievement.

Joining Panghal in this historic victory, Savita (62kg) also claimed the world champion title, contributing to the Indian women’s team triumph in the team category at a world championship—an unprecedented milestone in the annals of sports.

This remarkable achievement underscored a watershed moment for Indian wrestling as a whole, with an impressive total of seven wrestlers clinching medals. Among these were three gold medals, one silver, earned by Antim Kundu (65kg), and three bronze medals secured by Reena (57kg), Arju (68kg), and Harshita (72kg).

Picture: The UNN

Panghal, hailing from Hisar in Haryana, exhibited her dominance against her Ukrainian adversary Mariia Yefremova, securing a convincing 4-0 victory. Throughout the tournament, her ferocity and control were evident, conceding merely two points in her journey.

Her prowess as a future leader in this category was unmistakably apparent. This was further demonstrated when she challenged Vinesh Phogat for the Asian Games trials, confidently asserting her ability to defeat the decorated senior wrestler. Panghal’s conviction in not receiving a direct entry highlighted her dedication and self-assuredness.

Having made history as the first Indian female grappler to claim a junior world championship title the previous year, Panghal showcased a seamless transition to the senior circuit. In her bout against Yefremova, she exhibited astute defense, countering leg attacks with remarkable presence of mind.

Panghal’s rapid movements and well-executed double-leg attacks, underpinned by her impressive strength, left her Ukrainian opponent struggling. The contest culminated with Panghal’s decisive right-leg attack, seamlessly transformed into a takedown maneuver, sealing her victory.

In the 62kg final, Savita set the mat ablaze with a commanding technical superiority win against Venezuela’s A Paola Montero Chirinos. Displaying finesse and control, the wrestler from Rohtak accumulated points with ease. A take-down two-pointer marked the beginning, and Savita steadily extended her lead against a perplexed Chirinos.

By the conclusion of the first period, Savita held a commanding 9-0 advantage, subsequently clinching victory early in the second period without relinquishing a single point.

However, Antim Kundu fell short of victory in her final, succumbing to a 2-9 defeat against the local favorite, Eniko Elekes.

Reena secured the 57kg bronze with a resilient 9-4 triumph over Kazakhstan’s ShugylaOmirbek. Leading 5-0, Reena navigated through last-minute drama to secure her spot on the podium. At 5-2, the umpire awarded four points to Reena’s Kazakh counterpart, which was later overturned, resulting in Reena’s final score of 9-4.

Prior to securing her medal, Reena demonstrated her mettle by prevailing in two repechage rounds earlier in the day.

Bringing the Indian campaign to a fitting close, Harshita pinned her Moldovan rival Emilia Creciun. With a 6-0 lead at that point, Harshita executed a decisive move, putting Creciun’s back to the mat to secure a victory by fall.

August 18 witnessed historic accomplishments by Indian women wrestlers at the U20 World Championships. Antim Panghal’s consecutive title victory and Savita’s triumph contributed to an unparalleled achievement for the Indian women’s team in the world championship history. The success was further amplified with a total of seven medals, including gold, silver, and bronze, showcasing India’s prowess in the wrestling arena.

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