Asian Wrestling Championships: Vinesh Phogat and Anshu Malik win gold

Vinesh Phogat and Anshu Malik pose with their medals at the Asian Wrestling Championships. PTI Photo

Olympics-bound wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Anshu Malik dominated a depleted field to win their maiden Asian Championship titles after comfortable wins in their respective summit clashes in Almaty, Kazakhstan on Friday.

In the absence of the Chinese and Japanese rivals, Vinesh cruised to the title without losing a point in the 53kg category. Vinesh has notched up seven podium finishes at the Asian meet over the years, including three silver medals before this edition.

While Divya Kakran (72kg) also won gold, Sakshi Malik (65kg) won silver, in a confidence-boosting performance after a long wretched run.

India ended with seven medals from the women's event with won four gold, one silver and two bronze.

Sarita Mor (59kg) had won gold while Seema Bisla (50kg) and Pooja (76kg) had won bronze medals on Thursday.

The 19-year old Anshu was yet again impressive as she underlined her progress in the senior circuit with yet another confident performance in 57kg.

She won her final 3-0 and was never really troubled by Mongolia's Battsetseg Altantsetseg, except for a double-leg attack initially in the bout. The Mongolian was mostly busy defending and Anshu kept her lead intact for gold.

Earlier in the day, Vinesh won by technical superiority against Mongolia's Otgonjargal Ganbaatar and Taipei's Meng Hsuan Hsieh while an injured Hyunyoung Oh from Korea did not turn up for the semifinal.

Vinesh, who had won a bronze in the Delhi edition of the continental championship last year, moved 6-0 up in the final and finished the bout in style by pinning her rival in the first period itself.

Anshu won her first two bouts by technical superiority against Uzbekistan's Sevara Eshmuratova and Kyrgyzstan's Nazira Marsbek Kyzy to reach the semifinal.

Her speed and energy had her rivals gasping for breath.

Up against Altantsetseg, she was leading 9-1 when the referee awarded a 'victory by caution' to the Indian. The Mongolian was cautioned three times.

Competing much better than she was in the recent trials and competitions, Rio Games bronze medallist Sakshi won her first two bouts by technical superiority and was leading 3-0 against Hanbit Lee when the Korean suffered a knee injury and opted out of the contest.

She began aggressively in the final against Mongolia's Bolortungalag Zorigt but was pinned on a counter move.

Meanwhile, Divya stunned reigning Asian Champion Zhamila Bakbergenova from Kazakhstan 8-5 in the 72kg category en route the final. She won the final by pinning Korea's Sujin Park to be only the second Indian after Sarita Mor to win two gold medals at this meet. She had won gold in 68kg in the 2020 edition.