Sarita stamps authority, youngsters make mark at Senior Wrestling Nationals

A tactically superior Sarita Mor bagged the 59kg title with a commanding victory over comeback-girl Geeta Phogat on a day when established names such as Divya Kakran and Sakshi Malik bowed out at the National Wrestling Championship on Friday. The 59kg category was one of the toughest in the women’s competition, with three World Championships medallists in the fray for the title.

Sarita dominated all her matches en route to the title clash as only Pooja Dhanda tested her. She won two matches by fall and one by technical superiority.

Sarita and Geeta entered the final in which the Railways wrestler emerged champion with an 8-0 scoreline.

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Sarita was sharp and had more power in her moves against Geeta, who acknowledged her rival call the shots.

Incidentally, the last time Geeta competed at the nationals was in 2017 when she had beaten Sarita in the gold medal match.

“I was high on motivation after World Championship. I have worked on my attack a lot in recent times and I am glad I could execute what I had practised,” Sarita said after winning her seventh gold at the nationals.

“I also wanted to congratulate Geeta, who really had a great comeback. It was not easy, but she was good. I had analysed her game along with my husband Rahul (Maan) and coach Kuldip Malik and played accordingly. I love playing ground wrestling, and that is what I did today.”

Geeta said, “win or defeat does not matter, but the manner of the defeat is what is hurting. I could not play my game in the final. I let Sarita dictate terms.”

“On my comeback, I did not find any issue with my endurance level or speed, but I need to work on the tactical aspect of my game.”

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Geeta’s younger sister Sangeeta won the title in the 62kg division, in which Sakshi Malik was knocked out by Manisha with a 6-1 score. Sangeeta was tested by Punjab’s Loveleen Kaur in her opening bout, prevailing 8-8 on criteria but she got better with each match. She is also making a comeback after a knee injury.

Another big name to bite the dust was U23 World Championship bronze medallist Divya Kakran. She was pinned by eventual gold winner Pinki.

Kulvinder took silver while the second bronze was taken by Anuradha.

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