India's rising wrestler Antim Panghal clinched the Bronze medal in the World Wrestling Championships 2023 as she defeated the world no.3 Emma Jonna Denise of Sweden by 16-6 in Belgrade on Thursday, September 21. With an impressive win, she also confirmed India's 53 kg quota for the Paris Olympics 2024, the first quota for India in wrestling.
The 19-year-old wrestler became India's youngest and only sixth woman wrestler after Geeta Phogat, Babita Phogat, Pooja Dhanda, Vinesh Phogat and Anshu Malik to claim a medal in the World Championships. Despite ranking 31st in the current rankings, Antim performed beyond expectations throughout the tournament.
Antim shocked the world when she defeated the current champion Olivia Dominique Parrish of the USA in the opening bout and continued her senational run till the semis. She missed out on a bout for the Gold medal with a 5-4 defeat to Vanesa Kaladzinskaya of Belarussia on technical superiority on Wednesday.
The two-time U20 champion was utterly disappointed after losing the semifinal clash against Kaladzinskaya but was brilliant against the two-time European champions today. She took an early lead of 5-2 to add some pressure on Emma but the latter made a swift comeback to tie a 6-6 score in the first period.
Antim dominated the second period with some remarkable moves and took a 12-6 lead at the end of the second period. She won the last period on technical superiority and gave very little space to Emma to make any comeback.
India women's campaign in World Championships 2023 ended with just one Bronze medal. In men's events, only Abhimanyu (70 kg category) has made it to the semi-final round while Gurpreet Singh, in the 77 kg category, lost to the world no.1 Levai Zoltan in the pre-quarterfinal round.
Meanwhile, Antrim's win came under the UWW flag as the United World Wrestling suspended the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) for not conducting elections on time last month.
Inputs from PTI