Bajrang, Sakshi bring home gold for India

Birmingham, Aug 5: Star Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia was a class apart while defending his title as he conceded just two points en route the gold medal show while Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik turned back the clock to register a dominant victory to bag gold medal in the women’s freestyle 65kg bout, beating Canada’s Ana Godinez Gonzalez by fall at the Commonwealth Games, here on Friday.
Birthday girl Anshu Malik also grabbed a silver in her maiden Games.
Such was Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Bajrang’s dominance in the 65kg competition that he won three of his four bouts inside first rounds.
The 28-year-old defending champion beat Naurau’s Lowe Bingham and Mauritius’ Jean Guyliane Joris Bandou ‘by fall’ before winning by technical superiority against England’s Geroge Ramm.
Canada’s Lachlan Maurice McNeil fought well against Bajrang but the Indian was far superior in technique and stamina.
Sakshi, who seemed to have gone off the boil after her success in the Rio Olympics, missing some events and got upstages by younger opponents, made a brilliant comeback both in her bout on Friday and her career as she stomped her authority.
Her opponent, who had come to Canada from Mexico at a very young age with her family seeking political asylum, is strong grappler having won medals in World Championships
She started aggressively and effected two takedowns in the first period to take 4-0 lead.
But Sakshi fought back strongly in the second period, going on an attack and taking two points. She then counterattacked brilliantly and effected a fall by pinning her opponent’s shoulder to the mat to win the match.
Anshu, who has taken rapid strides in her career, reached the women’s 57kg final with similar dominance but ended up second-best with a silver medal.
The Nidani wrestler, who turned 21 on Friday, won by technical superiority against Australia’s Irene Symeonidis and Sri Lanka’s Nethmi Ahinsa Fernando Poruthotage.
Her trademark aggression and quality was too hot to handle for her rivals till the gold bout.
The World Championship silver medallist though could not breach the defence of Nigeria’s Odunayo Folasade Adekuoroye, losing the gold bout 3-7. The Nigerian was strong with her defence and Anshu could not find a way to make her moves. (Agencies)

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