Wrestling: Vinesh Phogat wins gold at Rome Ranking Series event

Rome: A dominant Vinesh Phogat won her first gold medal of the 2020 season at the Rome Ranking Series event after teen sensation Anshu Malik settled for a silver in 57kg competition, in Rome, on Friday.

Vinesh downed two tough Chinese rivals on her way to the 53kg gold medal bout in which she overpowered Ecudor’s Luisa Elizabeth Valverde 4-0.

Showing immense upper body strength, Vinesh had rattled her rival with shoulder pulls, never allowing her to attack.

She won by technical superiority against Khrystyna Bereza (10-0) and Lannuan Luo (15-5) before getting the better of Qianyu Pang (4-2).

The 18-year-old Anshu carried her sparkling form from the trials at her maiden international tournament at the senior level but could not replicate it in the gold medal bout, losing to Nigeria’s Odunayo Adekuoroye.

The 18-year-old was very dominant till the final, beating American Jenna Rose Burkert, Grace Bullen of Norway, 2019 world champion from Canada Linda Morais en route the final. Anshu had upset world championship bronze medallist Pooja Dhanda during the trials.

But Divya Kakran returned empty-handed after losing the 68kg bronze medal play-off bout to Danielle Suzanne Lappage of Canada.

Competing in 50kg, Nirmala Devi, lost her semi-final to Sarah Ann Hildebrandt and later the bronze play-off to Victoria Lacey Anthony to miss out on a medal. Nevertheless, she showed potential.

Against Hildebrandt, Nirmala was aggressive throughout, going for leg attacks, but the American stayed solid in her defence, reminding the tactics that Vinesh had employed against her at the 2019 World Championship in Nur Sultan.

In the men’s freestyle competition, Satyawart Kadiyan (97kg) and Sumit Mailk (125kg)exited following their quarterfinal defeats.