The 28-year-old Navjot Kaur became the first Indian woman to claim a gold medal in the Asian wrestling championships when she defeated Imai Miyu of Japan in the final to win the 65kg title at Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on Friday. With Sakshi Malik winning the bronze medal in the 62 kg category, India’s medal tally stood at one gold, one silver, and four bronze medals. Navjot Kaur was impressive throughout her final bout against Japan’s Miya Imai as she recorded a convincing 9-1 win while Sakshi Malik emerged from a hard-fought bronze medal playoff against Kazhakstan’s Ayaulym Kassymova with a 10-7 scoreline. The Japanese wrestler made the initial moves but Kaur stayed strong on defense. A counter-attack from the Indian gave her a 2-0 lead, but it was wiped out after a successful challenge by the Japanese coaches.
Navjot Kaur was in tears as she was paraded around the mat on her coach’s shoulders with the tri-color draped on her back. Kaur has been around the wrestling circuit a while, as she had previously won silver at the Asian Championships in 2013 and also has a bronze from the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Watch Navjot Kaur’s video here:
The historic achievement was lauded by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports stating, “The year has begun on a great note for Indian sports. Here’s to many more record-breaking performances.”
Her win was also lauded by state leaders and members of parliament like Ram Bilas Sharma, Cabinet Minister in Bharatiya Janata Party’s Government of Haryana:
Pratap Singh Bajwa, Former Punjab Congress President & Cabinet Minister Punjab Government:
Tamilisai Soundararajan, President of the Tamilnadu Bharatiya Janata Party:
Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship:
Even Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan also tweeted:
And popular singer Daler Mehndi also poured love:
Kaur in a statement said, “This pressure was something that every athlete was having at the Asian Championships. But this time, I decided, No, I will compete without pressure. I have just one chance to prove myself, so I was prepared. I won’t feel any pressure, let me go and play my natural game.”