Anshu Malik created history on Wednesday by becoming the first Indian woman wrestler to reach the World Championship final when she outclassed European champion Solomiia Vynnyk, even as Sarita Mor lost in the semifinal after surprising the world champion and will fight for a bronze here.
The 19-year-old Anshu, the reigning Asian champion, controlled the semifinal from the beginning and won by technical superiority in the 57kg category to go into history books.
Only four Indian women wrestlers have won medals at the World and all of them, Geeta Phogat (2012), Babita Phogat (2012), Pooja Dhanda (2018) and Vinesh Phogat (2019) -- have clinched bronze.
Anshu also became only the third Indian ever to make the Worlds gold medal match after Sushil Kumar (2010) and Bajrang Punia (2018). India has only one world Champion in Sushil till date and Anshu can create another history on Thursday. Anshu's win also ensured India's first medal from this edition of the event.
Anshu was clever with her moves. At least thrice, she affected take-down moves from the left of Vynnyk and finished the bout with an exposure move. The Nidani girl started competing in the senior circuit only from last year and has made a steady progress since then. She also had qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.
Earlier, she was hardly troubled by Kazakhstan's Nilufar Raimova, whom she beat by technical superiority and later outwitted Mongolia's Davaachimeg Erkhembayar 5-1 in the quarterfinals.
Sarita to fight for bronze
Seasoned Sarita Mor shocked defending champion Linda Morais 8-2 in her opening bout and beat Germany's Sandra Paruszewski 3-1 in the quarterfinals. Up against the reigning European champion from Bulgaria Bilyana Zhivkova Duodova, Sarita fought her heart out but lost 0-3. She will now fight for a bronze.
The Asian champions had a tough opening match against the 2019 world champions from Canada, but they outscored them with an 8-2 tactical victory in the pre-quarterfinals.
A quick take-down move, followed by an expose together with some superb defence put Sarita 7-0 ahead by the time the first period was over. The only scoring point she conceded was a take-down move in the second period. She did not let Linda play her game, keeping her in lock positions.
Later, the quarterfinal against Paruszewski turned out to be a tougher bout, in which the two wrestlers were largely restricted to standing fight which took a lot out of them. There was only one point-scoring move, a take down effected by Sarita late in the match and that sealed the outcome.
In the 72kg, Divya Kakran stunned Kseniia Burakova with a 'win by fall' but lost by technical superiority to Japan's Under-23 world champion Masako Furuich. The 2020 Asian champion Divya fought her heart out in both the bouts and wriggled out of difficult positions umpteen times but hurried moves and over-aggression cost her the quarterfinal against the Japanese.
Meanwhile, Kiran (76 kg) won her repechage round against Aysgul Ozbegi of Turkey to reach the bronze playoff but pooja jatt (53 kg) lost her repechage by fall to Eucuador's Luisa Elizabeth Melendres. Kiran will face 2020 African champion Samar Amer Ibrahim Hamza.