With star India wrestler Sakshi Malik missing from action, Delhi Sultans campaign in the second season of Pro Wrestling League ended as they slumped to their third consecutive defeat, losing 2-5 to Haryana Hammers, who in turn made it to semifinals, here On Wednesday.
It was not an auspicious start for Delhi Sultans as the spectators were left disappointed with skipper Sakshi opting out of what was expected to be one of the most interesting bouts of the evening against another iconic wrestler Marwa Amri in the women’s 58kg category.
Citing that she was “unwell”, Sakshi did not take the mat on Wednesday in a bout where she could have faced some tough challenge from an equally strong opponent.
Before this, Sakshi had posted comfortable wins against two lesser known compatriots Jaipur Ninja’s Pooja Dhanda and Punjab Royals Manju Kumari in Delhi’s last two matches.
At the Rio Games, Sakshi and Marwa had shared the podium with a bronze medal finish each. Even as Sakshi became the first Indian woman wrestler to win an Olympic medal, Marwa also created history by becoming the first woman Olympic medallist from her country — Tunisia.
Even Sakshi’s fiance Satyawart Kadian, also representing Delhi Sultans, failed to make up for her absence as he went down tamely against the former world champion Abdusalam Gladisov in men’s 97kg in the opening bout of the match.
Rio Olympic silver medallist Azerbaijan’s Mariya Stadnik of Delhi then thrashed Haryana’s Indu Choudhary 16-0 via technical superiority in women’s 48kg category.
World champion Magomed Kurbanaliev, however, handed Haryana Hammers back the lead after getting the better of Delhi’s David Tlashadze of Georgia in men’s 70kg division.
Dominating the tie, Magomed added four early points in his kitty by overpowering David before the Georgian managed to bag two points by taking down the Russian once during the entire bout. At the break Russia’s Magomed was leading 4-2.
The next one was a closely-fought battle, where Alina Makhynia of Delhi tied the scores 2-2 by getting the better of Kiran of Haryana 2-1 in women’s 75kg.
Delhi had their hopes pinned on a fit again Bajrang Punia, who did not fight the last bout having sustaining an injury, but he failed to justify his tag of being the most expensive Indian wrestler at the PWL-2 auction with a whopping Rs 38 lakhs price tag.
Bajrang went down to Rajneesh 6-9 in one of the most aggressively fought bouts of the evening.
In the inconsequential final bout, Rio Olympian Sandeep Tomar registered a came from behind win to extend
Haryana’s victory margin, defeating Mongolian grappler Erdenebat Bekhbayar 8-3 in men’s 57kg category.