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Nisha Dahiya secures India’s historic 5th Olympic quota in Paris for women’s wrestling
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Nisha Dahiya secures India’s historic 5th Olympic quota in Paris for women’s wrestling

Nisha Dahiya became the fifth Indian woman wrestler to qualify for the Paris Olympics after she emerged victorious over Romania’s Alexandra Anghel in the 68kg semi-finals at the Olympic World Qualifiers in Istanbul on Friday.

This will be the first time that India will have five female wrestlers at the quadrennial extravaganza.

This was a day after all six Greco-Roman wrestlers delivered forgettable performances.

Nisha, a bronze medalist of the U-23 World Cup and winner of the silver medal of the Asian Championships last year, defeated Anghel by 8-4 points difference to advance to the final and secure another Olympic quota for India.

Against Anghel, Nisha zoomed to an 8-0 lead with a series of attacks in the first period. She started with a right leg strike and converted it into a takedown. She quickly followed that up with a two-pointer, rolling out her rival for a comfortable 6-0 cushion.

Before the end of the first period, she had taken an unassailable 8-0 lead.

The second period was all about defense, after a double-leg attack did not result in any points. The Romanian, a silver medalist at the European Championships, woke from her sleep to launch attacks and troubled Nisha.

First she managed a takedown and then she found a new scoring move. With time running out, Anghel went for a chase, spinning Nisha to the mat as he aimed for a ‘fall’, but the Indian freed himself from the grip to thwart the danger.

Nisha did well to defend her lead in the remaining 55 seconds of the fight.

Nisha had earlier defeated Belarusian teenager Alina Shauchuk, who competed as an independent athlete, 3–0 to secure a place in the quarterfinals.

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Nisha, 25, then overcame the challenge of ninth-ranked wrestler from the Czech Republic Adela Hanzlickova, a multiple medalist at the European Championships, on points 7-4 to book a place in the semi-finals against Anghel, 58th at the world ranking.

In a full-distance battle, Nisha, who trains in Rohtak at the famous Sir Chhotu Ram Stadium where Sakshi Malik also trained, took an early 3-1 lead in the three-minute first round and despite a fightback from Adela, managed to win with ease.

However, Mansi (62kg) faced a much better opponent in eighth-ranked Belarusian Veranika Ivanova, who earned a victory by fall in the pre-quarterfinals with 25 seconds left on the timer.

Mansi can still secure a place in the bronze medal round through the repechage and hope to win an Olympic quota, but for that Veranika will have to go to the final.

Four Indian women wrestlers have already secured berths in Paris. While Antim Panghal secured an Olympic quota in the 53kg category last year with a bronze medal at the World Championships, Vinesh Phogat (50kg), Anshu Malik (57kg) and Reetika Hooda (76kg) secured the places for the country at the Asian Olympic Games. Qualifying matches in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in March.

India’s Greco-Roman wrestlers failed to impress on the opening day of the qualifiers on Thursday, making mistakes in all six weight categories in the preliminary rounds.

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  • Sumit (60kg), Ashu (67kg), Vikas (77kg), Sunil Kumar (87kg), Nitesh (97kg) and Naveen (130kg) had all lost their fights.

    Indian freestyle grapplers will hope to make up for the underperformance of their Greco-Roman compatriots when they take to the mat on Saturday.

    (This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)

    Feroz Khan

    Feroz Khan has been covering sports for over 12 years and is currently working

    first print: May 11, 2024 12:03 IST