Sakshi Malik defeated Sonam Malik and sealed her place in the Indian team for the Commonwealth Games while Vinesh Phogat did just enough against Antim to emerge winner in the 53kg category trials on Monday.
Sonam, who recovered from a left leg injury, had defeated 2016 Olympic bronze medallist at the WFI trials, but the day belonged to Sakshi, who beat the young wrestler 8-1. Later in the final, Sakshi outplayed Manisha 7-1 to confirm her participation in the Games, which will begin from July 28. Manisha had ousted Sangeeta Phogat 7-5 in the semifinals.
Vinesh, another star who has been struggling right from the Tokyo Games, began well as she did not concede a point till the final. In the final against Antim, she was trailing 0-3 but found a two-point scoring move to reduce deficit. Antim’s defensive tactics in the bout didn’t work for her. At one point, she left the mat and Vinesh challenged referee’s decision of not awarding a point. She won the challenge and since hers was the last scoring point, she ended up winning the trials.
It will be a first big-ticket event after the Tokyo Games, where she lost in the quarterfinal after entering the event as the favourite. What followed her was a harrowing time where she was suspended by WFI for indiscipline during the Games.
After WFI lifted the suspension, Vinesh found the going tough due to mental health issues. She pulled out of the World Championship trials in August last year and has not competed since.
In the final between two World Championship medallists, Anshu Malik (57 kg) beat formidable Sarita Mor 2-1 while Divya Kakran (68 kg) won by technical superiority against Nisha Dahiya.
Pooja Gehlot (50kg) and Pooja Sihag (76kg) also claimed the spots in the Indian team. The men’s trials will be held on Tuesday.