Indian woman wrestler Neha Sharma faced disappointment in the UWW World Wrestling Championships in Belgrade, Serbia. Competing in the non-Olympic 55 kg category, Neha made it to the bronze-medal match but ultimately lost to Germany’s Anatasia Blayvas.
In the repechage round, Neha showcased her skill and determination, defeating the seventh-seeded Mariia Vynnyk of Ukraine with a score of 7-4, setting up the bronze-medal bout. However, she couldn’t secure the bronze, marking the end of her campaign.
It’s important to note that Indian wrestlers are participating in these championships as neutral athletes due to the suspension of the Wrestling Federation of India. This situation has added complexity to their participation.
Other Indian wrestlers who competed on the same day also faced challenges. Sarita Mor (57 kg) started well with a victory over Betzabeth Colmenarez of Venezuela (6-1) but fell short against Nigeria’s Odunayo Adekuoroye (4-6) in the pre-quarter-final. Adekuoroye’s subsequent loss eliminated Sarita Mor from the repechage round.
Commonwealth Games medalist Divya Kakran (76 kg) encountered a tough opponent in world number 4, Justina Renay, after an initial win against Mehtap Gultekin of Turkey. While Divya fought valiantly, Renay secured the win based on technical points.
Antim Kundu (65 kg) had a remarkable start by defeating world number 2 Iva Geric of Croatia but couldn’t sustain the momentum and was defeated by Chinese wrestler Lili in the following round.
Neelam (50 kg) began strongly, winning two quick matches against opponents from Kazakhstan and Ukraine. However, her journey was halted by world No.4 Feng Ziqi of China in the quarterfinal.
India’s hopes for Olympic quotas and medals rest on U20 World Champion Antim Panghal (53 kg), Manisha Bhanwala (62 kg), Priyanka (68 kg), and Jyoti Berwal (72 kg), who will be competing in their respective categories in the coming days.
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