Pinki to wrestle for bronze at Individual World Cup

The Indian wrestler will return to fight it out for a bronze medal after bowing out in the semi-final of the 55kg women’s wrestling match at the Individual World Cup.

By Naveen Peter ·

Indian wrestler Pinki will be back on Tuesday to fight it out in the bronze-medal bout of the Individual World Cup in Belgrade, Serbia.

On Monday, the reigning Asian champion in the 55kg category - Pinki - fell short against Iryna Kurachkina of Belarus in the semi-finals at the Belgrade Fair.

Despite a 10-month break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pinki was in fine touch as she eased her way into the last-four with a 3-1 win over Tetyana Kit of Ukraine.

However, in the semis, the Indian grappler was second best to Iryna Kurachkina -- a bronze medallist from the 2019 World Wrestling Championships - who showed her class to record a dominant 6-1 win.

Wasting no time, the Belarusian was all over Pinki from the opening whistle and soon pulled off a fine takedown and followed it with a rollover to open her account.

From thereon, it was her compact defending that saw Iryna Kurachkina through as she barely allowed the Indian wrestler to create an opening in the opening round.

While the Indian bench urged Pinki into committing into attack, her efforts didn’t bear fruit as the 26-year-old Belarusian was quick to wriggle her way out of any trouble.

Though she conceded a point for passivity, Iryna Kurachkina made up for it with another takedown, this time by getting around Pinki’s back to push her into exposing herself on to the mat.

Indian wrestler Pinki was in good touch at the Individual World Cup. Photo: UWW

Pinki will face Olga Khoroshavtseva of Russia in the bronze-medal match on Tuesday.

Sonam Malik fails to impress

Earlier, Sonam Malik’s inexperience at the senior level resulted in her quarter-final loss in the 62kg category.

Up against Ilona Prokopevniuk of Ukraine, a much fitter and leaner Sonam Malik did well to stay in the contest despite going down 3-0 in the opening minute. The young Indian, however, couldn’t build on it as her opponent managed a victory by fall.

Going for a double-leg attack midway through the match, Sonam Malik failed to expose her opponent on to the mat. Ilona Prokopevniuk -- a three-time world junior medallist – however, was quick to pounce on the opening as she turned the Indian down, locking her legs and forcing a fall count.

Nirmal Devi (50kg) and Gursharanpreet Kaur (72kg) too saw their run at the Individual World Cup come to an early end in a similar fashion.

While Nirmal Devi let a 4-0 slip against Poland’s Anna Lukasiak to bow out following a 9-6 loss, the experienced Gursharanpreet Kaur was on the receiving end of some top-draw wrestling in her bout against Buse Tosun of Turkey.

The 36-year-old Gursharanpreet led 11-3 until the final two minutes. But Buse Tosun ensured that she reserved her best of the last as an ankle followed by rollovers saw her turn the tables in their opening-round bout.