Grip and grapple: Anshu Malik scripts a memorable carpet story in 2021 | More sports news

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Anshu Malik took Indian wrestling by storm by becoming the country’s first female wrestler to reach the World Championships final in Oslo in October this year. She lost to Rio 2016 Olympic Games champion Helen Louise Maroulis of the United States in the women’s 57kg freestyle division title fight. But the daughter of Nidani in the Jind district of Haryana made history by becoming only the third Indian wrestler to win the gold at the world championships, that too, in her first season as a wrestler. senior.
Previously, only four Indian female wrestlers had managed to win medals at the world championships and all of them settled for bronze – Geeta Phogat (2012), Babita Phogat (2012), Pooja Dhanda (2018) and Vinesh Phogat (2019).
Two-time Olympic medalist Sushil Kumar is the only Indian wrestling world champion, winning the title in Moscow in 2010. Bajrang Punia was close to matching Sushil’s feat but lost his last match at the 2018 Worlds to settle for the l ‘silver.
The year also saw a young Anshu make her debut at the Tokyo Olympics, where she lost in the draft. The 20-year-old sealed her place for the Tokyo Games during the Asian Olympic qualifiers in Almaty, ahead of World Championship bronze medalist and compatriot Pooja Dhanda.

Anshu made a steady transition from the junior circuit to the senior circuit, beating big names like Pooja, Sarita Mor and Lalita to claim the 57kg division. In fact, she has only competed in six senior tournaments so far in her promising career and has won medals in five of them becoming the Asian champion. She also boasts of an individual World Cup silver medal.
“The past year has been exceptional for me. Obviously, the silver medal at the Oslo Worlds was my highlight in 2021. But qualifying for Tokyo was just as important for me. It was the first time in my career that I had participated in so many competitions in a single year and luckily I came back with a medal for each of them except Tokyo where I lost in the draft. I have gained a lot of experience competing in the senior circuit and it will serve me well as I prepare for bigger challenges ahead next year, ”Anshu told TOI.
She revealed that shoulder, elbow and ankle injuries sustained during the World Championships meet had forced her to skip mat training for more than two months and it has only been two weeks since ‘she resumed her training sessions under the guidance of her longtime trainer Jagdish. Sheoran at the Chaudhary Bharat Singh Memorial Sports School in Nidani.
“I was in rehab after my return from the Worlds, because the injuries had taken their toll on my body. I didn’t give myself 100 percent on the mat and it will take another 20 to 25 days to regain my full fitness level. My coach told me not to tire myself during training and I will gradually try to pick up the pace.
“Next year is very important to me. I plan to return to competitions with the senior Asian championships in April, which will be my return tournament from the Worlds. Then we will have the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and later the Asian Games. My goal would be to win medals in all these events, ”she added.


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