Geeta exits as grapplers disappoint

Last year’s bronze medallist Geeta Phogat crashed out in the first round of the 59kg category at the World Wrestling Championships and a similar fate awaited Pooja Dhanda (55kg) and Geetika Jakhar (63kg) in their opening bouts here on Thursday.

Geeta, who won a bronze medal in the 55kg division last year, was tamed by Olympic bronze medallist Yuliya Ratkevich of Azerbaijan through a fall — pinning the upper back to the mat for a second — to dent India’s hopes early on day four of the event.

The 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Geeta was quick to get off the blocks and pulled her opponent down to collect three points. However, Yuliya bounced back and got an opportunity to attack Geeta’s left leg and tripped her down. She gained two points each on an offensive takedown and exposure. She did not stop there and pinned the Indian down to seal the tie in her favour at the Papp Laszlo Sports Arena here.

Pooja, who pipped last year’s bronze medallist Babita Kumari at trials for this this event, was routed 0-8 by Ukraine’s Iryna Husyak in her first bout in the 55kg section.

Meanwhile, India’s freestyle contingent displayed its best-ever show in the championships, finishing at sixth position in overall team rankings with 23 points among 72 countries that participated in the seven weight categories. Iran topped the table with 46 points, followed by Russia (44) and Georgia (29).

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