Anshu Malik of India failed to retain her women's 57kg title at the Asian Wrestling Championships 2022 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, after losing in the final to Japan's Tsugumi Sakurai on Friday. Malik began her title defense with a technical victory over Uzbekistan's Shokhida Akhmedova.
The 20-year-old, who is the first Indian woman's wrestler to win a world championships silver medal last year, followed up with a similarly dominant win over Singapore's Danielle Sue Ching Lim in the second round before defeating Mongolia's Bolortuya Khurelkhuu, a Tokyo Olympian, in the semi-finals.
Anshu's three victories en route to the final were all due to technical dominance. However, her charge was defeated in the gold medal match by Japan's Tsugumi Sakurai, the reigning 55kg world champion. Anshu Malik had to settle for silver when the Japanese grappler took a 4-0 lead before pinning her Indian opponent.
She earned her third consecutive medal at the continental showcase, having previously won bronze in 2020 and gold in 2021.
Due to the restricted number of competitors, India's Radhika won silver in the women's 65kg event, which was played in a Nordic round system (each wrestler facing others in a round robin style).
Radhika ended up losing her first fight via technical superiority to Japan's Miwa Morikawa, a former worlds silver medalist and eventual gold medalist in the event but bounced back to finish second, defeating Uzbekistan's Ariukhan Jumabaeva (4-2), Mongolia's Purevsuren Ulziisaikhan (8-6) and Kazakhstan's Dariga Aben (technical superiority).
Manisha, who won bronze in the 65kg category on Saturday, was another Indian medalist.
Manisha, who upset Olympic medalist Sakshi Malik to gain a position on the Indian team for the Asian meet, defeated Kazakh grappler Ayaulym Kassymova 9-0 in the quarterfinals but lost to Japan's Nonoka Ozaki, a worlds bronze medalist, in the semis.
In the bronze medal bout, though, the Indian wrestler pinned South Korean Hanbit Lee to secure her place on the podium.
Swati Shinde (53kg) and Nikki (75kg), the other two Indian women's wrestlers in action on Friday, did not win any medals.
The three medals won on Friday bring India's total in the Asian Wrestling Championships 2022 to ten (two silvers and eight bronze).
Sunil Kumar (87kg), Arjun Halakurki (55kg), Neeraj (63kg), Harpreet Singh (82kg), and Sachin Sahrawat (67kg), as well as women's freestyle grapplers Sarita Mor (59kg) and Sushma Shokeen (55kg), had won seven gold medals in the first three days of the competition.
Over the weekend, Indian men's freestyle wrestlers will compete, including Tokyo Olympic medalists Ravi Kumar Dahiya and Bajrang Punia.