Antim Panghal Makes Statement By Winning Asian Games Trial, Vows To Move Supreme Court After High Court Dismisses Her Petition


Talented youngster Antim Panghal made a statement by winning the 53kg trials, moments after her plea challenging the exemption given to Vinesh Phogat was dismissed while Mansi Ahlawat surpassed expectations by sealing her place in the Indian team for the Asian Games from the 57kg field that had two World Championship medallists in New Delhi on Saturday. The 19-year-old Panghal put up a dominant show in the 53kg category, winning all her bouts without much fuss. Handed a bye in the first round, the 2022 Under-20 World Champion began with a 7-2 win over Tamanna and followed that up with a technical superiority win against Neha to move into the semifinals.

The final was even better as she pinned her rival Manju inside two minutes.

However, it will be Vinesh Phogat who will represent India in this category during the Hangzhou Asian Games as the selection committee has already given her direct entry in the 53kg category along with men’s freestyle wrestler Bajrang Punia (65kg).

“I won the trial fair and square. Why should I be the standby player, I won the trial. The one who did not compete should be standby player in 53kg. My petition has been dismissed but I won’t stop, I will keep fighting, we will move the Supreme Court,” Panghal told reporters.

“If she keeps getting direct entries like this, how will one know how good we are. We will keep trying. My coach will decide what we are going to do next but the fight will continue. What’s the point of me wining three bouts.

“I know she is pretty good and has many medals but she must fight against us in the trials,” she said, adding that she will now gear up for the World Championship trials.

The 57kg category turned to be very competitive as it featured World Championship silver-medal winner Anshu Malik and Worlds bronze winner Sarita Mor. The two champions players were drawn to clash in the very first round that was perceived as a final before the final.

Sarita Mor raced to a 5-0 lead against Anshu, who is making a comeback from injury. However the 20-year-old Anshu bounced back with a take-down and a gut wrench move. That narrowed the difference to 4-5 but Sarita used immense power to prevail.

Sarita was later shocked by the U23 World Championship bronze medallist Mansi Ahlawat, who took advantage of one technical mistake from Sarita to employ the ‘fitley’ move to grab an upset 9-6 win.

From the other side of the draw, another youngster Sito went deep to make the final, winning against Pinky and Neetu.

Mansi, who trains under Mandeep at Chhotu Ram Akhada, continued her good show to comfortably win the final against Sito by technical superiority.

In the 62kg category, Sonam Malik made an impressive comeback from a left elbow injury to win the trials. Manisha was equally impressive in the same draw but the wrestler from Gohana, who trains under Ajmer Malik, won.

The final between Sonam and Manisha was expected to be a cracker of a contest but the Gohana girl pinned the Rohtak girl after pulling off a quick and unsettling four-pointer.

Another wrestler securing her place for the Asian Games from Chottu Ram Akhada was CWG bronze winner Pooja Gehlot. She beat Shivani and Neelam quite easily then pinned veteran Nirmala Devi in the 50kg final.

“It was a really great experience throughout the competition, my practice and hard work paid off. Now, my aim is the Asian Games, but my final aim is competing in the Olympics,” said Gehlot.

Gehlot opined that no wrestler should be be allowed to represent the country in major international competitions without appearing in trials.

“Without trials, no one should be allowed to participate (in competitions). Every kid puts in a lot hard work; trials should be conducted and only then one should be allowed to go.

“It is unfair to junior wrestlers that they are not even given a chance to represent. What will happen to those who have put in so much of practice and hard work,” added Gehlot.

In 68kg, Nisha Dahiya was favourite but it was Radhika who stole the show. She not only knocked out Nisha but eventually qualified for the Asian Games by edging past Priyanka 9-8 in a very close final.

Divya Kakran, who usually competes in 68kg, moved up to 76kg but could not qualify for the Asian Games, losing the final to veteran Kiran.

In the Greco Roman style, Gyanender (60kg), Neeraj (67kg), Vikash (77kg), Sunil Kumar (87kg), Narinder Cheema (97kg) and Naveen (130kg) won their respective trials to make it to the Asian Games squad.

The men’s freestyle trials will take place on Sunday.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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