Sakshi Malik wins silver medal at Asian Wrestling Championship


New Delhi -- Three Indian women wrestlers, including Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat, settled for a silver medal each in their respective weight categories at the Asian Wrestling Championship.

All three Indians lost to their respective Japanese opponents, who proved to be too strong for them

Sakshi bagged a silver medal after losing to Japan's Risako Kawai in the final of the women's 60kg category.

Making a comeback to the international circuit after the Olympics, Sakshi looked a little out of touch as she went down to Risako Kawai, the Rio Games gold medallist in the 63kg category, 10-0 in under three minutes.

Sakshi, who created history by becoming the first Indian woman wrestler to win an Olympic medal -- with a bronze -- last year, could not counter the challenge from the strong Kawai.

Competing for the first time in women's 60kg category after jumping up the weight division from 58kg, Sakshi though hardly had to break a sweat en route to the final.

Sakshi got the better of Nabira Esenbaeva of Uzbekistan 6-2 in the quarterfinal and then defeated Kazakhstan's Ayaulym Kassymova 15-3 in her semifinal bout to cruise into the gold medal round.

Vinesh also settled for a silver in the women's 55kg category. Vinesh, who too made a comeback after a long injury lay-off, was lagging behind from the very beginning against a strong Japanese competitor Sae Nanjo and ultimately went down 4-8 to settle for the second position.

The Japanese girl took very little time to prove her mettle, bagging four quick points by taking down Vinesh twice before earning another two to make it 6-0 at the break.

In the second half, Vinesh came back strongly and quickly took down the Japanese wrestler to win two points and narrow the gap to 2-6. But the Japanese extended her lead by making it 8-2.

Vinesh, who is returning to the mat after the last year's Rio Games where she had suffered an injury, managed to get two more points but it was not enough in the end.

Divya Kakran was the third Indian to have made the final, in the women's 69kg category, but she too had to settle for silver after going down to Japan's Sara Dosho in four minutes and 55 seconds. Divya lost the gold medal bout 0-8 in a one-sided contest.

Earlier, Ritu Phogat (women's 48kg) went down in her semifinal bout to Yui Susaki of Japan 0-9 to lose out on a place in the final, but bagged bronze through the repechage when her opponent Yanan Sun gave a walkover in the medal contest.