Young wrestler Anshu Malik became a teenage sensation after she had to settle for silver at the season’s first Ranking Series in Rome on Thursday. The promising young Indian wrestler, who was also making a debut at the International level in the senior category, went down fighting to Nigeria’s Odunayo Adekuoroye 10-0 by technical superiority in the women’s 57kg freestyle event.
Anshu had wrestled courageously in the previous rounds but failed to repeat the form against Adekuoroye and settled for silver.
Earlier, in the semifinal, the 18-year-old young wrestler piped American Jenna Ross Burkert on technical superiority to book a spot in the final of the Ranking series. Anshu had outclassed the American with a scoreline of 10-0. In the quarter-final, the grappler from Haryana had shown the door to Norway’s Grace Bullen. However, her most memorable victory was in the pre-quarters where she outsmarted 2019 World champion Linda Morais, who hails from Canada, 10-4.
Anshu had shocked everyone at the national selection trials, which were held in Lucknow, after she had pinned world championship bronze medalist Pooja Dhanda, who is also an Olympic hopeful, before overcoming Mansi Ahalawat to confirm her ticket for the Ranking Series and Asian Championships that are scheduled to be held in New Delhi from February 18-23.
However, another upcoming women grappler Sonam Malik, who had stunned everyone by piping Rio Olympic bronze medalist Sakshi Malik at the national trials, was not as lucky as Anshu on her senior international debut. Sonam, a two-time cadet world champion, was knocked out of the tournament after she lost to American Wrestler Macey Ellen10-0 in the opening round in the 62kg category.
National champion Divya Kakaran did show some promise by booking a berth in the semi-final in 68kg but ultimately had to bow out of the completion after she was defeated by 2018 Asian Games gold medalist grappler from China Feng Zhou 2-8.
India’s Gurpreet Singh is another medal hope for India in the championship. Gurpreet, a national champion, has booked the gold medal clash against Turkey’s Burhan Akbudak after he defeated John Walter Stefanowicz of the US 5-0 in the semis and confirmed a silver medal for himself.