(MENAFN- AsiaNet News) Antim Panghal delivered a stunning upset by defeating reigning champion Olivia Dominique Parrish on her way to the World Championship semifinals. However, her remarkable run came to a halt in the last-four stage, and now she is contending for a bronze medal and a Paris Olympic quota place. The 53kg grappler from India faced a setback in the semifinals, losing to world No.23 Vanesa Kaladzinskaya, a Belarusian competing as a neutral athlete, by a close technical point margin of 5-4. Despite this loss, Antim Panghal still has a chance to secure an Olympic quota if she emerges victorious in the bronze-medal match or in the contest between the losers of the bronze-medal bout. Panghal's journey highlights her successful transition from the junior to senior circuit, as she won her first three matches of the day to reach the semifinals, while other Indian contenders faced disappointment in their respective categories.
In her initial bout, the two-time U20 champion Panghal initially trailed 0-2 against USA's Parrish but managed to secure a narrow 3-2 victory in the opening round. She later demonstrated her prowess by defeating Poland's Roksana Marta Zasina through technical superiority and securing a 9-6 win over Russian Natalia Malysheva, who competed as a neutral athlete.
In the quarterfinal, Panghal established a 6-0 lead, but Natalia from Russia mounted a comeback with a take-down and consecutive gut-wrench points, equalizing the score at 6-6. However, Panghal countered effectively to regain the lead. She extended her advantage with a well-executed left-leg attack, converting it into a take-down. Despite a remaining 30 seconds, Panghal successfully defended her lead to emerge victorious.
Notably, Manisha (62kg), Priyanka (68kg), and Jyoti Berwal (72kg) faced defeats and exited the tournament in their respective weight categories. Furthermore, all 10 men's freestyle wrestlers from India have already been eliminated from the competition without securing either an Olympic quota or a medal, and it's worth mentioning that all Indian athletes are competing under the UWW flag due to the suspension of the wrestling federation.
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