Money, money burning: despite the defeat to Helen Maroulis in the final, Anshu’s feat is revolutionary

As Anshu Malik lay inconsolably on the mat, clutching her elbow and left shoulder after the fall loss to Helen Maroulis in the women’s 57kg final at the World Wrestling Championships in Oslo, her American opponent pity him by patting his back. Although the 20-year-old Indian lost the fight, failing to become the first Indian woman wrestling world champion and the second in her country after Sushil Kumar, she had already made history.

No Indian woman has ever reached the top of a wrestling world championship, no one has even come close; even in the men’s category, only five have advanced so far in the world championships. The journey, and the heartaches and setbacks she endured to get to where she did, is a heartwarming tale in itself.

The mental agony of the Tokyo draft loss lingered. She also endured physical pain. According to Father Dharamveer Malik, she had injured her elbow, which she suffered in Tokyo, during the tournament, in addition to injuring her knee in the quarter-finals. Therefore, he said, “This money is like a gold medal for us.”

“Anshu fought bravely. Despite an elbow injury at the Tokyo Olympics, she trained in the village and then in the national camp. We hope his elbow injury has not worsened, ”he adds.

Her mother Manju, who watched the final without batting an eyelid, agrees with her husband: “Silver bhi gold ke jaisa hai. In the next few days, she would be about to bake her favorite candy, “gond ke ladoo”. “It’s good for muscle recovery and she can have as many as she wants,” she says.

Start with confidence

Her opponent in the final, Haroulis, was a grand champion in Rio and bronze medalist in Tokyo. The youngster, who has never faced the seasoned American in her short international career, started confidently by foiling the American’s attempts to grab her neck. She also survived a close-leg attack in the early exchanges.

Anshu tried to tire his opponent, which worked as the Haroulis received a passive play warning. She failed to score and Anshu got her first point of the final. The first half ended with Anshu leading 1-0.

But the American changed her strategy in the second. She attempted to grab Anshu’s injured left elbow and succeeded, scoring two runs in 45 seconds. She then tore off Anshu’s shoulder, scoring two more points. Then came the punch, as she pulled her shoulder completely against the mat, which allowed Haroulis to win in the fall.

Coach Jagdeesh Sheoran, who introduced Ansu to wrestling at CBSM Sports School in Nidani in 2012, expected her to be faster in the second half. “I expected Anshu to be a bit faster in the second half but the American was quick to attack her left elbow and once she grabbed it it was difficult for Anshu. to come back. Without the injury, she could have freed herself from this grip and survived the fall, ”he explained.

But the money reflects the rapid and decisive progress she has made in her sport. It wasn’t just a one-off performance. Last year, Anshu captured victories over World Championship bronze medalist and future Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist Evelina Nikolova of Bulgaria in the Mattio Pellicone Ranking Series in Rome, in addition to beating two-time European bronze medalist Alyona Kolesnik from Azerbaijan and Europe. bronze medalist Veronika Chumikova.

Nidani’s youngster’s confidence, Sheoran believes, will skyrocket. “In the last 20 months, she’s scored six wins with a ten-point margin and the way she scored wins against Linda Morris and Grace Bullen early in her career has given her a lot of confidence. In the 11-6 win over Evelina Nikolova in Rome before Tokyo, Anshu got tired and then launched into leg and side attacks. Victories against such wrestlers make her more confident to try the moves she’s mastered in practice. The coming months will see a different Anshu, ”Sheoran adds.

Bronze for more

On the sidelines, 25-year-old Haryana wrestler Sarita Mor took bronze in the 59kg category with an 8-2 victory over Sweden’s Johanna Lindborg and became the sixth Indian wrestler to win a world championship medal. .

“The more medals our wrestlers win at the world championships, the more they will be hungry for success. Seeing Anshu making history here and Sarita winning bronze means our wrestlers are no lesser adversaries. We will work to iron out the flaws. We need more training and these medals will add a lot to our confidence, ”said national coach Kuldeep Malik.