Rome, Jan 18:
A dominant Vinesh Phogat downed two tough Chinese rivals on her way to the 53kg final of the Rome Ranking Series event after teen sensation Anshu Malik settled for a silver medal in 57kg competition, here on Friday.
Vinesh won by technical superiority against Khrystyna Bereza (10-0) and Lannuan Luo (15-5) before getting the better of Qianyu Pang (4-2).
If the win against Ukrainian Bereza was about spectacular double leg attacks, the quarterfinal win over the Luo was much tougher than the what the score-line suggested.
Luo was a strong opponent, who led 5-2 at the end of first period but Vinesh turned it around with smart point-scoring moves from nowhere in the second period.
Twice she threw Luo with moves from between the legs when the Chinese was holding her from the back.
With two wrestlers, having immense upper-body strength, jostling for upper hand from standing position was a sight to watch.
Fighting a measured bout against Pang, Vinesh was in control in the semi-final, With two take downs in each period she led 4-0 and conceded points only towards the end of the fight.
Vinesh will now fight for her first gold of the season with Ecuador’s Luisa Elizabeth Valverde Melemdres.
The 18-year-old Anshu carried her sparkling form from the trials at her maiden international tournament at the senior level but could not replicate it in the gold medal bout, losing to Nigeria’s Odunayo Adekuoroye.
The 18-year-old was very dominant till the final, beating American Jenna Rose Burkert, Grace Bullen of Norway, 2019 world champion from Canada Linda Morais en route the final.
Anshu had upset world championship bronze medallist Pooja Dhanda during the trials. But Divya Kakran returned empty-handed after losing the 68kg bronze medal play-off bout to Danielle Suzanne Lappage of Canada.
Also in medal contention is Nirmala Devi, who will fight for 50kg bronze after losing her semi-final to Sarah Ann Hildebrandt.