Indian woman wrestler Neha Sharma went down fighting to Anastasia Blayvas of Germany in the bronze-medal contest at the UWW World Championships, even as four other grapplers failed to make an impact in Belgrade on Tuesday. Neha, competing in the non-Olympic 55kg category, had made it to the bronze-medal round after defeating Mariia Vynnyk of Ukraine 7-4 in repechage to set up a fight against Anastasia.
But after a keen contest, the 19th ranked Indian lost on technical points to the world No.16 German.
Compatriots Sarita Mor and Divya Kakran failed to make an impact at the Worlds, losing their preliminary round bouts.
The Indian contingent is competing here under the United World Wrestling (UWW) flag as the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has been suspended by the international body for not holding its elections in the stipulated time.
Both Sarita (57kg) and Divya (76kg) lost their pre-quarterfinal bouts, while team-mates Antim Kundu (65kg) and Neelam (50kg) also met with similar fate on Tuesday.
The chances of the four grapplers making it to the bronze-medal round via the repechage route also evaporated as the opponents they had lost to failed to make it to the final.
The repechage comes into effect for wrestlers who lose in the pre-quarterfinals or later. It gives them another opportunity to revive their fortunes in the competition if the opponent they have lost to reaches the final.
Sarita, after defeating Betzabeth Colmenarez of Venezuela 6-1 in the first round, lost to Nigeria’s Odunayo Adekuoroye 4-6 in the pre-quarterfinal, while Divya, after getting the better of Turkey’s Mehtap Gultekin 7-5 in the qualification round, lost the pre-quarterfinal bout to Canada’s world No.4 Justina Renay after the latter scored more technical points.
However, both Adekuoroye and Justina lost in the quarterfinals, shutting the repechage door on Sarita and Divya.
In the 65kg category Antim Kundu, ranked 17th, created quite a sensation by defeating world No.2 Iva Geric of Croatia 6-0 in the pre-quarterfinals. Her Chinese opponent in the quarterfinal, Lili, registered a victory by fall to end the Indian’s hope of advancing in the tournament.
Neelam (50kg) too began on a positive note registering two quick victories — against Maral Tangirbergenova of Kazakhstan (10-0) and Oksana Livach of Ukraine (6-4) — but lost to world No.4 Feng Ziqi of China, who achieved a victory by fall in the quarterfinal.
Feng, too, went on to lose her semifinal bout, thus closing the repechage route for the Indian.
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