Haryana Hammers continued their unbeaten run in the Pro Wrestling League Season 2 as they registered a 5-2 victory over Delhi Sultans in Delhi. Haryana used their initial advantage to block the 74 kg Men's category while Delhi opted to block the 53 kg Women's category, to negate Sofia Mattsson.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar graced the evening with his presence, as he came out in support of the sport of wrestling that has brought many laurels to the nation in its rich history.
Captain Abdusalam Gadisov of Haryana gave his team a winning start, defeating Delhi's Satyavart Kadian 9-0 in the 97 kg Men's heavyweight category. Gadisov effected a takedown early on and followed it with a push out to go into the second round leading 3-0. The break did not affect his rhythm, as Gadisov employed ankle holds to take down Satyavart yet again, rolling him over to accumulate points. A push out by Gadisov in the final moments of the bout resulted in Haryana commencing the evening on a winning note.
Delhi drew level in the following bout, as three-time Olympic medalist, Mariya Stadnik walloped Haryana's Indu Chaudhary 16-0 to win by virtue of Technical Superiority in the 48 kg Women's category. Indu was unable to withstand the attack of the seasoned grappler from Azerbaijan, as the scores were tied 1-1 after the second bout.
The third bout was fought between Delhi's David Tlashadze and Haryana's Magomed Kurbanaliev in the 70 kg Men category. Haryana's foreign import Kurbanaliev emerged the winner in the contest, attacking aggressively and effecting two decisive takedowns to finish 6-2 and give Haryana a 2-1 lead in the tie.
Delhi Captain Alina Makhynia overcame a stalemate-like situation against Haryana's Kiran to win 2-1 in the 75 kg Women's category. Although Kiran was firm in her defence, the Ukrainian grappler had the final say in the bout that resulted in 2-2 scoreline as the tie shaped towards an exciting finish.
A pivotal moment in the match came in the fifth bout as the contest between two Indian wrestlers, Delhi's Bajrang Punia and Haryana's Rajneesh got underway. Bajrang Punia, the most expensive Indian wrestler in PWL 2, was playing after recovering from his injury, while Rajneesh was riding high on confidence after having remained unbeaten in the tournament so far. Rajneesh managed to score early with the help of an aggressive takedown following it up with a double leg hold to raise questions for Bajrang. Not to be outdone, Bajrang managed to take advantage of an extravagant maneuver by Rajneesh, as he opened his account going in to the second round.
Bajrang resumed Round 2 with renewed aggression, attacking with single leg holds even as Rajneesh displayed nimble footwork to push out Bajrang from the protected area and score points. Both wrestlers exhibited tremendous attacking and defensive approaches; however, it was Rajneesh who managed to increase the points deficit beyond Bajrang's reach, as Haryana won the bout 9-6 and established a 3-2 lead in the tie.
Haryana Hammers clinched the tie in the next bout as Tunisian wrestler and 2016 Olympics Bronze medalist Marwa Amri Won By Fall 10-0 against her opponent, Colors Delhi Sultans' Apoorva Tyagi who had replaced key player Sakshi Malik in the 58 kg Women's category A series of successive takedowns saw Amri score rapidly, as Apoorva managed to escape being pinned. Eventually, Amri defeated Apoorva with a decisive single leg tackle, pinning her to the mat and being adjudged the winner in the process. With this victory, Haryana gained an unassailable 4-2 lead in the tie.
Sakshi Malik was prevented from taking part in the tie on medical grounds as she was recovering from an illness.
The final bout of the evening also swung in Haryana's favour, with Indian Olympian Sandeep Tomar pulling off an upset win over Delhi's Erdenebat Bekhbayar in the 57 kg Men's category. The first round of the bout saw some defensive play by both the wrestlers before Sandeep decided to wrest the game in his control, using his attacking single leg holds and tackles to push out his opponent, effect a takedown, and follow it up with a rollover. Eventually, Bekhbayar yielded to the pressure, as Sandeep won the bout 8-3 and Haryana clinched a 5-2 victory in the match.
Haryana's Rajneesh, who fought majestically with Delhi's Bajrang Punia, said: "All my bouts till now have been very close and interesting. I believe it was my day today!"
Sandeep Tomar, on defeating international wrestler Erdenebat Bekhbayar said: "In my weight category, there are quite good wrestlers. The score would have gone up by 8-3 also but my focus was to finish the bout as early as I can and register a win."
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