On Thursday, Pooja Dhanda became only the fourth Indian woman and the first in six years to medal at the Wrestling World Championships. The 24-year-old beat Norway's Grace Bullen 10-7 to claim her medal in the women's 57kg category at the Hungary World Championships.
The last medals to have come to Indian women wrestlers had been at the 2012 World Championships in Strathcona County, Alberta, Canada when Geeta and Babita Phogat won bronze medals in the 55kg and 51kg categories, respectively. Coming through a torrid section of the bracket that featured Olympic champion Helen Maroulis, Olympic bronze medallist Katsuki Sakagami and World silver medallist Odunayo Adekuoroye, Dhanda did well simply to get into the repechage. She first got past Russia's Khoroshavtseva 10-4 in her opening round, then beat Adekuoroye 7-6 in the pre-quarterfinals. She was pinned by eventual gold medallist Rong Ningning in the quarterfinals but shrugged off that loss to make the bronze medal match with a win over Alyona Kolesnik in the first repechage match.
Against Norway's Bullen, Dhanda conceded an opening point on the shot clock but surged forward with a couple of four-point throws to open a wide 10-2 lead with a minute to go. Although Bullen closed the gap with a takedown and a couple of pushouts against a tiring Dhanda, the Indian held out long enough to secure the historic medal. Dhanda's medal is India's second at this year's Worlds, after Bajrang Punia claimed silver in the men's 65kg category.