CWG 2022: Bajrang Punia defends title, Sakshi reverses losing streak to win first CWG gold : The Tribune India

CWG 2022: Bajrang Punia defends title, Sakshi reverses losing streak to win first CWG gold : The Tribune India


Birmingham, August 5

Bajrang Punia was classy as she defended her title before Sakshi Malik produced a sensational gold medal effort as Indian wrestlers bagged five medals, including three gold, at the Commonwealth Games here on Friday.

Deepak Punia (86kg) also contributed to India’s medal tally by winning gold in the men’s freestyle, but birthday boy Anshu Malik (57kg) had to settle for a silver medal in her maiden CWG appearance.

Divya Kakran won bronze in the 68kg category, winning the medal playoff in just 26 seconds against Tiger Lily of Tonga.

Thanks to three gold medals, India moved to fifth position in the medal table ahead of Scotland. Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist Bajrang’s dominance in the 65kg event was such that he won three of his four bouts in the opening rounds.

The 28-year-old defending champion beat Lou Bingham of Nauru and Jean-Gillian Joris Bandou of Mauritius by fall before winning by technical superiority against England’s Geroge Ram.

Canada’s Lachlan Maurice McNeil did well against Bajrang, but the Indian was far superior in technique and stamina, winning the bout 9-2.

Bajrang has struggled to play freely since last year and his overly defensive tactics have questioned his ability to extend his dominance in the international arena, but on Friday he made his moves without holding back.

However, the CWG is not the best platform to judge whether Bajrang has regained its mojo due to the lower quality of the field.

Sakshi reverses trend, wins after trailing =================================

For Sakshi, who has been fighting for relevance for a long time, it was a perfect opportunity to regain some confidence and she used it to the optimum level in the 62kg event, winning her first CWG gold.

She started by defeating home team competitor Kelsey Barnes and followed that up with a TKO win against Cameroon’s Bert Emilien.

In the final against Ana Paula Godinez Gonzalez, Sakshi trailed 0-4 after the Canadian scored on a counter attack. Sakshi’s right leg attack goes awry as she loses position, allowing her opponent to complete a takedown move.

The U-23 world champion struck again to go into the break 4-0 up.

Sakshi, who has been seen caving in to pressure of late, reversed the trend this time by initiating an attack with a right leg to drop the Canadian to the mat.

From there, she used power to pin down Gonzalez, turning the tables on her opponent in sensational fashion. She won bronze at the 2018 Gold Coast Games and silver at the 2014 Glasgow Games.

Deepak Punia grabs gold for losing just one point ===============================

Deepak Punia (86 kg) was calculating in his bouts and finished on top of the podium without losing a single point.

The wrestler from Chhara village started with a technical superiority victory over New Zealand’s Matthew Clay Oxenham and defeated Canada’s Alexander Moore 3-1 to set up the gold medal fight against Pakistan’s Muhammad Inam.

The 23-year-old Indian had better stamina and outplayed Inam 3-0. His first point was from a push and the second came after the Pakistani’s passivity.

There were no big moves in the fight as Inam was out in the second round. Deepak completed his victory with another push out point.

Anshu gets silver on his birthday


Anshu, who has made rapid strides in her career, reached the women’s 57kg final with similar dominance but finished second best with a silver medal.

The Nidani wrestler, who turned 21 on Friday, won by technical superiority against Australia’s Irene Simeonidis and Netmi Ahinsa Fernando Porutotage of Sri Lanka.

It didn’t take Anshu long to size up her opponents. Her signature aggression and quality were too hot to handle for her rivals until the gold medal fight.

However, the World Championship silver medalist was unable to break through the defense of Nigeria’s Odunayo Folasade Adekworoye, losing the gold bout 3-7. The Nigerian was strong in her defense and Anshu couldn’t find a way to make her moves.

She left with tears in her eyes as this was not the birthday present she wanted to give herself.

Divya Cockran took bronze


Divya was handed a tough draw at 68kg as she found Tokyo Olympic silver medalist and 11-time African champion Blessing Oborududu of Nigeria early in her campaign.

The first round was a worthy finish though, but Divya was outplayed by the formidable Nigerian. The Asian Games bronze medalist won her repechage against Blandine Nai Ngiri by fall.

Also competing for bronze will be Mohit Grewal (125kg), who won against Alexios Kauslidis of Cyprus 10-1, but lost in the semifinals to Amarveer Desi of Canada by technical superiority.

He faces Jamaica’s Aaron Anthony Johnson.


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