Pooja Dhanda first woman wrestler in 6 years to win World Championship medal

first_imgPooja Dhanda became the first woman wrestler to win a medal at the World Championship as she won a bronze medal with a remarkable 10-7 win over the 2017 European champion Grace Jacob Bullen in Budapest on Thursday.Pooja delivered one of the best performances of her career in the bronze-medal match against Grace as she executed a four-point throw in each of the two periods in the 57kg contest.Pooja is only the fourth Indian woman to win a World Championship medal and this is her second big medal this season, having won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.Prior to Pooja, only Alka Tomar (2006) and Geeta and Babita Phogat (2012) have won bronze medals for India at the World Championship.”I’m feeling really good. It’s a very proud moment for my country and I am the one who has got their pride and I’m really very happy. I want to thank the federation, my coaches, my physios and my players for supporting me and making me strong,” Pooja said after the match.Pooja DHANDA gives India a #BudaWrestle2018 world bronze medal . https://t.co/WmNNF9z4lw#BudaWrestle2018 (@wrestling) October 25, 2018Right at the start of the match, Pooja opened up a 4-1 lead with a throw that she was able to execute on counter attack. She consolidated the lead with a roll and took a 6-1 lead after the end of first period.Pooja had conceded the one point for a step out and gave another for the same but immediately after, Pooja stunned Grace with another four-point throw, to race to a 10-2 lead.advertisementPooja said that when she got two cautions she thought that she could step back anymore and went for attack.”At the moment, I thought I could not go back now because I had already got two cautions. My coach told me that go for only attacking positions because we were leading with a very good score. That’s why I went all out on attack and finally, I could win.”When we started, she came to attack and I had the chance to counter and I went for it and got six points. It was a big lead for me and I always kept a positive mindset. I felt confident that I had a good lead and I could not give her points now,” Pooja told.Also read – Bajrang Punia settles for silver at the wrestling World ChampionshipsThereafter, Grace did fight Pooja with a take down and a couple of push outs to reduce the gap but Pooja managed to hold on for the huge victory.Pooja had earlier erased a three-point deficit to win her repechage round 8-3 against Alyona Kolesnik from Azerbaijan.”We had seen in World Championship matches that she [Grace] has a strong upper body so the strategy was to keep my arms locked and not increase my wingspan. I went for the lower body and leg attack and got points.”I was a very lower ranked player in my pool as my pool had all the champions. But my coaches told me to concentrate on my wrestling and just go for it. Only sometime ago I had defeated Helen Maroulis, Olympic gold medallist, so my confidence was high.”My next target is Olympics. I am confident and my coaches are also planning for an Olympic medal. I have a few things that I need to work on, my coaches have noticed and we’ll work on it back in India. With full preparation I will come to the mat for the Olympics,” Pooja concluded.Before Pooja’s bout, Ritu Phogat lost her bronze medal bout and none of the four Greco Roman grapplers could win even a single match. Vijay (55kg), Gaurav Shar,a (63kg), Kuldeep Malik (72kg) and Harpreet Singh (82kg) all crashed out after losing their Qualification rounds.Ritu had a chance to emulate her elders sisters — Geeta and Babtia — and win a Worlds medal but she lost the 50kg bronze play-off 5-10 to Ukraine’s Oksana Livach.Coming from behind, Ritu had defeated Romania’s Emilia Alina Vuc in the repechage but the Ukrainian proved too strong for her.Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik yet again failed to reach the medal round at a big-ticket event, losing the repechage round 2-3 to Hungary’s Marianna Sastin. Sakshi had a 2-1 lead but failed to defend it for last seven seconds, playing too defensive.(With PTI inputs)last_img