PUNJAB ROYALS outclassed Uttar Pradesh Warriors 6-1 in a Pro Wrestling League (PWL) encounter in ludhiana on Sunday.
This was Punjab's first victory in the tournament. They had lost to Mumbai Garudas 2-5 in the opening match of the tournament. The Warriors, who had lost to Bengaluru Yodhas in their campaign opener, remain rooted to the bottom of the PWL table. This was their second successive 1-6 defeat.
Rajneesh gave Punjab a winning start by defeating the Warriors' Mongolian wrestler Ganzorik Mandakhuran 8-7 in a hard-fought bout of the men's 65kg category. In the women's 69kg category, Punjab's Vasilisa Marzaliuk defeated UP's Alina Stadinik Mahinia 2-1 to increase the hosts' lead. Vasilisa took a 2-0 lead in the first round. Although Alina managed to take a point in the second round, Vasilisa managed to hold on till the end. Praveen Rana maintained Punjab's domination by edging UP's Mongolian wrestler Purevjav Unurbat 4-4 in the men's 74kg division.
Rana, who has switched to the 74kg category only recently, gave a good account of himself against the 2015 World Championships silver medallist. Rana clinched a couple of points at the start of the opening round when he brought down his Mongolian opponent with a leg hold. Purevjav turned the tables in the early seconds of the second round by flipping Rana over to bag four points. But Rana bagged two points with another leg hold to ensure victory.
Jargalsaikhan Chuluunbat then ensured victory for the Punjab Royals by outclassing the Warriors Joginder Singh by technical superiority (10-0) in the men's 125kg class.
The former Asian Games silver medalist was technically and physically superior to his opponent and notched up 10 consecutive points to wrap up the bout in the very first round as Punjab took an unassailable 4-0 lead in the seven-bout contest.
In the women's 58kg event, Punjab's Geeta Phogat overcame a strong second challenge challenge from UP's Sabita to win. 3-2. Geeta had taken a 2-0 lead in the first round. But Sabita made the contest exciting by taking two points in the second round. But the experienced Geeta notched up a point in the closing stages to take a narrow win.
UP's icon player Babita Kumari gave her team a consolation win by defeating her cousin Priyanka Phogat 6-4 in the women's 53kg event. Babita opened up a 2-0 lead but Priyanka came up with a superb take down to level the scores before the end of the first round.
The second round also saw a tough battle with both taking two points each. With the scores reading 4-4, Babita produced a takedown in the closing seconds to edge out her sibling. Mausam Khatri then blanked the experienced Satyavart Kadian 5-0 to wrap up Punjab's victory.