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Antim Panghal Clinches Bronze and Olympic Quota at World Wrestling Championships

LockerRoom Team
22 September 2023

Indian wrestler Antim Panghal added a significant feather to her cap by securing the bronze medal in the women's 53kg event at the World Wrestling Championships 2023 in Belgrade, Serbia. Panghal's remarkable achievement came after she defeated Sweden's two-time European champion, Emma Jonna Denise Malmgren, in a thrilling match on Thursday.

The intense showdown concluded with Antim Panghal prevailing over her opponent by a dominant scoreline of 16-6, securing the bronze medal through technical superiority. Panghal's exceptional performance not only brought glory to India but also earned the nation its first wrestling quota for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

It's important to note that the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) of respective countries have exclusive authority over athlete representation at the Olympic Games. Therefore, the participation of athletes in the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics hinges on their NOCs selecting them to represent their nation.

Antim Panghal, a two-time U20 world champion, showcased her prowess throughout the tournament. In the opening round, she delivered a stunning upset by defeating the reigning 2022 world champion, Dominique Olivia Parrish of the USA, with a close scoreline of 3-2.

Continuing her impressive run, Panghal secured a victory by technical superiority against Poland's Roksana Marta Zasina in the round of 16. In the quarter-finals, she displayed her tenacity and skill, clinching a hard-fought 9-6 win against Russia's Natalia Malysheva.

However, Panghal faced a formidable challenge in the semi-finals when she went up against Belarusian wrestler Vanesa Kaladzinskaya in the women's 53kg freestyle category. In a closely contested match, Kaladzinskaya secured a narrow victory over Antim Panghal by a margin of 5-4.

While Antim Panghal's extraordinary journey resulted in a bronze medal and an Olympic quota for India, other Indian wrestlers also displayed their mettle in the tournament. Notably, 2019 Asian Championships silver medallist Gurpreet Singh (77kg) and Ajay (55kg) gave their all, even though they lost their round of 32 bouts as Greco-Roman wrestling commenced in Belgrade.

Sajan (82kg), India's first Greco-Roman medallist at the U23 World Championships, and Mehar Singh (130kg) showed their determination but bowed out in the qualification round.

Earlier in the week, India's ten male freestyle wrestlers participating in the tournament couldn't secure a medal or an Olympic quota. Additionally, India's men's 70kg freestyle wrestler, Abhimanyu, narrowly missed out on a medal after losing the bronze medal match to Arman Andreasyan of Armenia, albeit in a non-Olympic quota event.

In the women's freestyle categories, Manisha (62kg), Priyanka (68kg), and Jyoti Berwal (72kg) couldn't secure berths in the medal bouts.

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It's worth noting that the Indian grapplers are competing under the United World Wrestling (UWW) flag due to the suspension of the Wrestling Federation Of India (WFI). Nonetheless, Antim Panghal's bronze medal win and Olympic quota have brought immense pride to Indian wrestling, leaving fans eagerly anticipating her future endeavours on the global stage.

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