Divya Kakran became only the second Indian woman to win a gold medal at the Asian Wrestling Championships after she won all her bouts by fall, defeating junior world champion Naruha Matsuyuki en route to her triumph on Thursday.
In a dominant display, Divya won all four bouts in the five-wrestler round robin format 68kg category competition.
Navjot Kaur had become the first Indian woman to win a gold medal at the Asian Championships when she won in the 65 kg category in 2018 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
In a good day for India who are also hosting the event, Sarita Mor (59kg), Pinki (55kg) and Nirmala Devi (50kg) are assured of at least silver medals as they reached finals of their respective categories.
As China did not send its wrestlers, the Asian Games bronze medallist Divya Kakran began the championship by routing Kazakhstan’s Albina Kairgelinova and then knocked out Mongolia’s Delgermaa Enkkhsaikhan.
In the third round, Divya beat Uzbekistan’s Azoda Esbergenova.
And in the final match, Divya faced Japanese junior world champion, and she led 4-0 with a take down and an expose move.
The Japanese made it 4-4 in the second round but then the Indian made a move that gave her victory by fall.
“I had to win by fall to get five points from all my bouts because the Japanese was winning all her bouts by big margins, so I took risk for big wins. My coach had said that I don’t have to go for big throws all the time but I went for it,” Divya said after the win.
Talking about last bout against Naruha, Divya said, “It did become tricky after I led 4-0. I was not in a great position (Naruha’s lock) and it could have been very dangerous. But I took risk and it paid off by God’s grace.
“I was told that If I get trapped, I have to play safe. I found a way to come out.That girl is good in single leg attacks and it is my weak area. So I became more attacking,” Divya said.
“Yes, it did benefit. But if you have a 5-wrestler group it becomes even tougher, you have fight everyone and win big. I won 4 bouts within 2 hours. It was tough on body but good thing is I have improved on my range, I made all kinds of attacks, Irani, Kheme, single-led, double leg attacks. I have spent hours on practicing these moves. Now I want to qualify for the Olympics and that too with a gold,” she said, talking about how the absence of Chinese wrestlers helped her cause.