Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: Pooja Gehlot (53kg) stormed into the final to keep India’s quest for the first gold medal from the Under-23 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary alive on Thursday.
It was a brave display from the youngster who got the better of 2018 Junior European Wrestling Championships gold medallist Zeynep Yetgil of Turkey 8-4 to advance to Friday’s summit showdown with Japan’s 2017 world champion Haruna Okuno.
Gehlot earlier started from the qualifying stages, where she demolished Ekaterina Verbina of Russia 8-3. In the quarter-finals, Gehlot blazed through her bout, notching up a commanding 8-0 win.
Gehlot is the second Indian to make it to the final of this edition of the championships following men’s freestyle expert, Ravinder (61kg), who won silver on Wednesday.
In 50kg, Jyoti’s hopes of getting a bronze were dashed when she was blanked 0-10 by Russia’s Nadezhda Sokolova.
In 57kg, Pinki Rani advanced to the quarters from the qualifiers by sheer dint of a one-sided 5-0 victory over Arian Geralin Carpio of the USA. Her run came to an end in the last-eight at the hands of Hannah Fay Taylor, who edged her 2-1 in a gritty contest.
None of the other Indians in action could win a round. While Ukraine’s Ilona Prokopevniuk was declared a 2-0 winner by fall over Reshma Mane in 62kg, Nisha exited with a 3-11 loss to Maya Gabriella Nelson of the USA in 65kg.
In 72kg, Naina suffered the same fate when she was shown the door by Cuba’s Milaimys de la Caridad Marin Potrille in a 13-3 victory.