Wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik claimed silver medals in the 55 kg and 60 kg freestyle women’s event at the Asian Wrestling Championships, in New Delhi, on Friday. Both wrestlers went down to Japanese counterparts with Sakshi bowing out of a bout that lasted just a few minutes.
After having beaten Uzbek wrestler Sevara Eshmuratova and China’s Qi Zhang in the quarterfinals and semifinals without conceding a point, Phogat faced Sae Nanjo from Japan, in her final bout.
Going down 6-0 in the first three minutes of the bout, the 22-year-old showed signs of a come-back, gaining four points in the next few minutes. However, the stern Japanese held on to win 8-4. This was Vinesh’s first competitive bout and medal since her return from injury at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Sakshi faced a familiar foe in the form of Risako Kawai in the 60 kg Women’s freestyle event, who won the Gold medal in Rio. In what was a quick bout, the Indian wrestler went down 10-0 and settled for silver.
Earlier in the day, Sakshi had beaten Ayaulym Kassymova 15-3 in the semifinal bout. Sakshi, like Vinesh, was competing in her first competitive wrestling tournament since winning Bronze at the Olympic Games last year.
“It’s been almost seven months since the Olympics and I have been away from competitive wrestling. I now have a lot of time to prepare for the World Championships and I will work to better my performance there,” Sakshi said.