NEW DELHI: Antim Panghal became the first-ever Indian female wrestler to win a gold medal at the U-20 World Championships, when she defeated team Kazakhstan Atlyn Shagaeva 8-0 in the 53kg final in Sofia, Bulgaria on Friday.
It was the first time in the competition’s 34-year history that an Indian woman finished on the top step of the podium. Antim, the youngest of four siblings, dominated Shagayeva with her leg attacks and takedowns to be crowned junior world champion.
Hailing from Bhagana village in Haryana, Hisar district, the 17-year-old has won all of her fights by huge margins, including the prized scalp of European champion Olivia Andrich, which she won. defeated by technical superiority (11-0).
In quarters, Antim had pinned Japan Ayaka Kimura before beating Ukrainian Nataliia Klivchutska (11-2) in the semi-finals. Antim was inspired to pursue her career in sports after watching her elder sister, Sarita rise to the top ranks as a national level kabaddi player with Team India.
“I didn’t know the record. It was only after I won the final that my coaches told me that I became the first ever female wrestler from India to win the championships. It’s a feeling of pride for everyone. world. I am grateful to my parents for allowing me to pursue struggle, especially my didi (sister Sarita) for always supporting and encouraging me. My goal is to win an Olympic medal for the country and this is just the start for me,” Antim said happily after her win.
In other bouts, Sonam Malik and Priyanka won silver medals at 62kg and 65kg respectively, while Reetika (72kg) and Sito (57kg) settled for a bronze medal each after triumphed in their repechages. India has so far won 12 medals at the U-20 Worlds, with the male freestyle wrestlers winning one silver and six bronze and the female wrestlers one gold, two silver and an equal number bronze.