BELGRADE: Antim Panghal shocked reigning champion Olivia Dominique Parrish en route to the World Championship semifinals, raising hopes of locking a quota for the Paris Olympics even as other Indian contenders bit the dust in their respective categories, in Belgrade on Wednesday.
The two-time U20 champion Panghal slipped to a 0-2 deficit at the start of the bout against the American but edged her rival 3-2 in the women’s 53kg opening round.
She later outplayed Poland’s Roksana Marta Zasina by technical superiority and followed that up with a 9-6 win over Russian Natalia Malysheva, who is competing as a neutral athlete.
The American swung into action with a quick take-down move from a right-leg attack. Unperturbed, the 19-year-old Indian began to defend well and foiled two similar attempts, not conceding any more points till the end of first period.
With her strong defense continuing, Panghal did not let Parrish make any attacking move with the result the American was put on clock.
Panghal got hold of the American’s left leg and converted that into a successful take-down move to draw parity. She tried to get a leg lace but could not pull off the move.
The American lost a point on passivity. Standing wrestling followed and Panghal defended her slender lead to walk out a winner.
She needed only one minute and 38 seconds to outplay Roksana Marta Zasina in her next bout, beating the Poland wrestler by technical superiority to move into the quarterfinals. After two take-down moves, Panghal pulled off leg-lace move with perfection to finish the bout in a jiffy.
In the quarterfinal, she led 6-0 but the Russian effected a comeback with a take-down and consecutive gut-wrench points to make it 6-6. On counter-attack Panghal took the lead again. She extended the lead with a left-leg attack which she converted into a take-down. About 30 seconds were still left in the bout but Paghal denied her rival.
However, Manisha (62kg), Priyanka (68kg) and Jyoti Berwal (72kg) have lost their bouts and exited the tournament.
All 10 men’s free-style wrestlers have already exited the tournament without winning either an Olympic quota or a medal in non-Olympic categories.
All Indian athletes are competing under the UWW flag because the wrestling federation is suspended. Agencies