Teenage wrestlers Anshu Malik and Sonam Malik qualified for the Tokyo Olympics after storming into the final of the Asian Olympic qualifiers in Almaty, Kazakhstan on April 10th. Anshu proved too good for her opponent, Shokhida Akhmedova of Uzbekistan and secured a dominating 12-2 win in the 57Kg category.
Earlier, she thrashed Korea’s Jiuen Um 10-0 and then decimated Kazakhstan’s Emma Tissina with the same margin. She conceded her first points in the semi-final against Shokhida when the Uzbek wrestler made 4-2. However, she went into a different Zone and picked up 6 straight points to stretch the lead to 10-2 in the first period. She cruised to victory in the second period by picking up the remaining two points.
The 18-year-old Sonam also scripted a remarkable turnaround against Asian Championship silver medallist Ayaulym Kassymova of Kazakhstan. Sonam was down 0-6 but made a stunning comeback to win the game by 9-6.
Sonam defeated Rio Olympics bronze medalist Sakshi Malik to earn the right to compete in the Asian Olympic qualifiers. Overall, she’s defeated Sakshi four times in her career including the trials last month in Lucknow.
Anshu will take on Mongolian Boldsaikhan Khongorzul in the final, while Sonam will take on Jia Long of China, whom she defeated in the first round.
The third Indian in the semi-finals, Nisha Dahiya went down to Meerim Zhumanazarova of Kyrgyzstan 13-3. Anshu and Sonam will join Bajrang Punia (65), Ravi Dahiya (57), Deepak Punia (86) and Vinesh Phogat (53, women’s) in the list of Indians who have booked their berth in the Olympics.