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Dangal girl gets mat lesson

YB WEB DESK. Dated: 5/13/2017 2:54:28 AM

Divya Kakran became the third Indian wrestler to win a silver medal after Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik at Asian Wrestling Championships.

Trailing by 8 points, Divya Kakran knew it was now or never. In an act of desperation, the 19-year-old decided to try an old dangal trick. In an effort to pin down her opponent, Japan’s Sara Dosho, she grabbed her legs. Divya would learn an important wrestling lesson. Dosho could easily read the amateurish ploy. In a swift counter, the experienced Japanese wrestler got a tight grip of the home girl’s legs to win the bout by a fall.
The loss made Divya the third Indian wrestler, after Vinesh Phogat and Rio Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi Malik, to win a silver at the senior Asian Wrestling Championships in New Delhi.
“Though I did not treat this as a dangal but I had to pin her. She is a big wrestler and an Olympic champion so obviously she is more experienced. But this was a learning experience for me and know my mistakes,” Divya says,” she says.
Though, she lost, there were many positive for the wrestler who has been famous on the dangal circuit for pinning down boys of her age. Those were the days when Divya used to travel across the country with her brother Dev and father Suraj.
While the brother acted as a coach and sparring partner, the father would sell hand-stitched ‘langots’.
Suraj had a tough time convincing the dangal organisers to let Divya take on the boys. This wasn’t just a gender issue, he even had to overcome caste bais. Those tough days seem like a forgotten past on Friday as Suraj stood in the stands, shouting instructions to her daughter. Like at the dangals, he wanted Divya to pin down her opponent.
Earlier in the tournament, the teenaged wrestler had done what her father wanted. In the opening round, quite early in the bout, she had Chen-Chi Huang of Chinese Taipei on her back. She would manage the ‘pin’ in just 56 seconds.
Despite her smaller stature than her opponents, her strength was no match. The second win confirmed this as she beat Hyeonyeong Park, an even taller wrestler of Korea, 12-4 amid loud cheers from the crowd.
The baby-faced wrestler admits that this was one of the biggest day in her short career. “Now I cannot say I don’t have experience of competing against top wrestlers. I am still a kid in front of them but to win gold medals, I need to beat them and that is my focus from now on till Tokyo Olympics,” she says.
Even Wrestling Federation of India president Brij Bhusan Sharan Singh has high hopes from the 69-kg wrestler.
“I have asked her to stop competing at dangals and focus on mat wrestling. This is what will bring medals for her. She has the strength to compete at top level. All she needs are a few techniques,” he says.
According to women’s national team coach Kuldeep Malik, this is just the begining for the Divya.
“She has the ability but the other wrestler (Dosho) was too strong for her today. If she continues to train hard at the camp, she will be ready in a year’s time,” he says.


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