World Wrestling: Neha Sharma in bronze medal round; Divya, Sarita Lose

Indian women’s wrestler Neha Sharma went down against Anastasia Blayvas of Germany in the bronze medal contest at the UWW World Championships, even as four other grapplers failed to make an impact in Belgrade on Tuesday. Neha, competing in the non-Olympic 55 kg category, had reached the bronze medal round after defeating Mariia Vynnyk of Ukraine 7-4 in the rematch to set up a match against Anastasia.

But after an intense contest, the 19th-ranked Indian lost on technical points to the world No. 16 German.

Compatriots Sarita Mor and Divya Kakran failed to make an impact at the Worlds, losing their opening round matches.

The Indian contingent is competing here under the United World Wrestling (UWW) flag as the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has been suspended by the international body for not holding its election within the stipulated time.

Both Sarita (57kg) and Divya (76kg) lost their matches before the quarterfinals, while teammates Antim Kundu (65kg) and Neelam (50kg) also met a similar fate on Tuesday.

The four grapplers’ chances of advancing to the bronze medal round via the recovery route also disappeared as the opponents they had lost to failed to make it to the finals.

The replay takes effect for wrestlers who lose in the pre-quarterfinals or later. It gives them another opportunity to revive their fortunes in the competition if the opponent they have lost to reaches the final.

Sarita, after defeating Betzabeth Colmenarez of Venezuela 6-1 in the first round, lost to Nigeria’s Odunayo Adekuoroye 4-6 in the pre-quarterfinals, while Divya, after beating Turkey’s Mehtap Gultekin 7-5 in the qualifying round, lost the match before quarterfinals to Canada’s No. 4 Justina Renay in the world after the latter scored more technical points.

But both Adekuoroye and Justina lost in the quarterfinals, closing the door to a repeat for Sarita and Divya.

In the 65kg category, Antim Kundu, ranked 17th, created a big sensation by defeating World No. 2 Iva Geric of Croatia 6-0 in the pre-quarterfinals. Her Chinese opponent in the quarter-finals, Lili, registered a fall victory to end the Indian’s hopes of advancing in the tournament.

Neelam (50kg) also started well with two quick wins – against Maral Tangirbergenova of Kazakhstan (10-0) and Oksana Livach of Ukraine (6-4) – but lost to world No. 4 Feng Ziqi of China, who earned a win by the fall in the quarter-finals.

Feng also lost his semi-final match, closing the replay route for the Indian.

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