New Delhi: The Indian contingent won three gold medals and one silver on the third day of the Asian Wrestling Championships here on Thursday.
Divya Kakran won the round-robin 68kg title while Sarita Mor (59kg) and Pinki (55kg) won their respective final bouts at the KD Jadhav wrestling arena. Nirmala Devi settled for silver after losing the 50kg final.
India had only one female gold medallist in the history of the Asian Championships before Thursday, and the hosts made the most the chances that came their way in the absence of Chinese wrestlers due to coronavirus scare.
Divya was dominant in her weight category, beating all four of her opponents by fall. She first routed Kazakhstan's Albina Kairgelinova before pinning Mongolian Delgermaa Enkksaikhan.
She then beat Uzbekistan's Azoda Esbergenova with a pin in a bout that lasted all of 27 seconds.
In the title round, Divya was leading 4-0 at the end of the first period against junior world champion Naruha Matsuyuki of Japan by first effecting a take down and then getting an exposure.
Matsuyuki made a strong start to the second period and managed to level the score. However, Divya managed to extract a victory by fall.
"I knew I had to secure as many wins by fall as possible. In the gold medal match, I knew I had to win either by a big margin, or through fall, because the Japanse wrestler was dominating all her bouts," she told reporters after the bout.
"I thought I could execute a throw, that's the reason I went for the attack. But a lot of times things change drastically from the winning position, and the same happened with me. I was leading 4-0, but was really badly stuck there. I just thought I had to come out of this mess somehow. I don't know how I managed it, but I applied my opponent's move on herself," Divya said.
Pinki beat Mongolian Dulguun Bolormaa 2-1 in a closely fought final of the women's 55kg category. On the way to the title bout, she had beaten Uzbekistan's Shokida Akhmedova by fall before losing to Japan's Kana Higashikawa. In the semifinal, she beat Kazakhstan's Marina Zuyeva 6-0.
Sarita beat Mongolian's Battsetseg Altantsetseg 3-2 in a final that went down the wire. Earlier, she had beaten Kazakhstan wrestlers Madina Bakbergenova and Nazira Marsbekkyzy before downing Japan's Yuumi Kon enroute the final.
Nirmala lost 2-3 to Japan's Miho Igarashi in the 50kg final. She started the day with a 6-4 win over Mongolia's Munkhnar Byambasuren and followed it with a 10-0 drubbing of Dauletbike Yakshimuratova of Uzbekistan.
Day 4 will see Asian Games gold medallist Vinesh Phogat in action in the 53kg category and Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik fighting in the 65kg weight class.
Vinesh faces Japan's Mayu Mukaida while Sakshi will take on Mukaida's compatriot Naomi Ruike in their respective first round bouts.