Wrestling heavyweights Sakshi Malik and Pooja Dhanda suffered shocking defeats in their respective bouts at the ongoing trials in Lucknow on Saturday. While Rio Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi lost to two-time World Cadet champion Sonam Malik, world championship medallist Pooja was beaten by Anshu Malik.
Both Sonam and Anshu have qualified for the Asian Championships.
The first round bout of the 62kg category between Sakshi and Sonam was a thrilling affair with the latter launching a stunning comeback after trailing 4-6 in the second period. She produced a four-point throw with three seconds left making it 10-all but progressed ahead on the basis of having scored the last point.
In the final, she defeated Radhika 4-1 to punch her ticket in the Indian team.
In the 57kg category, Anshu defeated Pooja and then Mansi to qualify.
The likes of Vinesh Phogat (53kg) and Divya Kakran (68kg) though easily won their respective bouts. Nirmala Devi (50kg) and Kiran Godara (76kg) were other winners of the trials.
The winners of these trials will represent India at the year’s first ranking series in Rome that gets underway from January 15 in Rome to be followed by the Asian Championships in New Delhi next month.
The medal winners of these events will be representing India at the continental qualifying event, Asian Olympic qualifiers, that is to be held in Xian (China) from March 27 to 29.