Indian wrestler Anshu Malik claimed a silver medal in the women’s 57kg event at the 2021 World Wrestling Championships, in Oslo, Norway, on Thursday. She became the first female grappler from India to achieve the feat, with the previous five medallists winning bronze medals at the event.
Only five women wrestlers had won medals at the World Wrestling Championships before Thursday - Alka Tomar (2006), siblings Geeta Phogat and Babita Phogat (both 2012), Pooja Dhanda (2018), and Vinesh Phogat (2019), had all won bronze medals in their respective categories.
The record book was already due for a change as Anshu Malik ensured herself of at least a silver medal in the women’s 57kg category against Ukrainian Solomia Vynnyk. However, she could not better the hue of the metal as she was defeated by USA’s Helen Maroulis, who is a 2020 Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist.
Two-time Asian Champion Sarita Mor also secured a bronze medal finish in the women’s 59kg event, having defeated Sweden’s Sara Lindborg 8-2 in the playoffs. The Indian grappler had the better world champion Linda Morais of Canada en route to the semi-finals. With the Indian duo securing podium finishes, the Indian contingent opened their account in the medals tally on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Divya Kakran missed out on a bronze medal after she lost to Mongolia’s Davaanasan Enkh Amar in the first repechage round of the women’s 72kg category. In the men’s 55kg event, Sandeep lost to Turkey’s Ekrem Ozturk in the round of 16, while Vikas was ousted in the qualification round of the 72kg event by Cengiz Arslan of Turkey.
In the 77kg event, Sajan had the better of Norway’s Exauce Mukubu in the qualification but fell against Hungary’s Tamas Levai in the round of 16. Harpreet Singh also failed to excel further as he was defeated by Iran’s Pejman Poshtam in the qualification round.
On the other hand, the Indian Greco-Roman wrestlers were eliminated before the medal and repechage rounds in the event.