Millennium Post (Kolkata)

Sarita retains title; Seema and Pooja settle for bronze


ALMATY: Scripting a sensationa­l comeback, an aggressive Sarita Mor reeled off nine straight points in the summit clash to retain her Asian Championsh­ip title in 59kg while Seema Bisla (50kg) and Pooja (76kg) settled for bronze medals here on Thursday.

Sarita, who won gold at the 2020 championsh­ip in New Delhi, trailed 1-7 after a botched-up challenge but turned it around with a tremendous fight back against Mongolia's Shoovdor Baatarjav.

Attempting a move at 1-3 on the edge of the mat, Sarita lost her balance, allowing her rival to get one point. However, the Mongolian's coach challenged the call to get her ward four points.

From there on, there was no stopping Sarita. She effected a take-down, following it up with an expose and then one more take down on the edge of the circle to make it 7-7.

At that juncture, time running out fast, the Mongolian camp challenged the call and lost that to give an extra point to Sarita, who won 10-7.

"It was difficult since she is 2018 World Championsh­ip bronze medallist but I had prepared myself for this bout against the Mongolian. I lost to her in the first bout but I executed the plan in the final against her," Sarita said.

Asked if it's a consolatio­n to do well in 59kg since she is not getting enough results in 57kg, which is an Olympic category, Sarita did not agree.

"No, I am doing well in 57kg. I won a silver in the recent Ranking Series event in 57kg. It's just unfortunat­e that I could not make the cut at 57kg Olympic trails. I am confident I would have done ever better.

"I feel strong in both the categories," she added.

Sarita had lost her opening bout to the same Mongolian rival by 4-5 margin but came back strongly in the next round against Kazakhstan's Diana Kayumova, winning by technical superiorit­y in the first period.

The lanky Kazkah had good reach but Sarita was agile and aggressive. After earning a passivity point, Sarita unleashed a flurry of moves, starting with a take-down and followed that up with a gut-wrench and a couple of expose moves.

Against Kyrgyzstan's Nuraida Anarkulova in the semifinal, Sarita was again aggressive from the beginning and finished the bout in a jiffy with quick expose moves after getting hold of her opponent.

In the 50kg competitio­n, Seema had a terrible start as she lost her opening bout by fall against Kazakshtan's Valentina Ivanovna but made a strong comeback in the next round against Mongolian Anudari Nandintset­seg.

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