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Asian Games 2018: Surprise medals in Kurash as Pincky claims silver, Malaprabha bronze

By Pti
Pincky Balhara (left) and Malaprabha Yallappa Jadhav

Jakarta, August 28: India on Tuesday (August 28) bagged two medals in Kurash, a form of wrestling indigenous to central Asia, with Pincky Balhara and Malaprabha Yallappa Jadhav winning silver and bronze respectively in the women's -52kg category at the ongoing Asian Games 2018 here.

The 19-year-old Pincky lost 0-10 to favourite Gulnor Sulaymanova of Uzbekistan in the gold medal clash to settle for the silver. Pincky earlier defeated Tsou Chiawen of Taipei 5-0 in Round of 16 before getting the better of Susanti Terry Kusumawardani of Sri Lanka 3-0 in the quarterfinals. She beat Abdumajidova Oysuluv of Uzbekistan 1-0 in the last four stage.

Asian Games special page | Medals tally | Manjit's gold

Earlier in the day, Jadhav lost to Sulaymanova 0-10 in the semifinal to claim the bronze as both the semifinalists are assured of medals. Jadhav first came off a 3-0 win over Dawa Helen of the Philippines in the Round of 32 before beating Turkmenistan's Saparova Zarina 10-0 in the Round of 16. She surged into the semis after defeating Vietnam's Van Ngoc Tu 5-0 but her run was halted by the eventual champion Sulaymanova.

"People in my village pooled in Rs 1.75 lakh to send me to training camp. They all have supported me a lot. I am forever indebted to them," a teary-eyed Pincky said after the medal ceremony. While Pincky is from Neb Sarai village in Delhi, Jadhav is from Belagavi.

Questions were raised about the team's participation at the Games and the Indian Olympic Association had said the athletes would have to pay for their kits as they come from a non-recognised Kurash Association of India (KAI). KAI is not even recognised by the Sports Ministry but after Tuesday's outcome, that could soon be a reality. As most of the team members could not afford the kit worth Rs 35,000, they arranged money to buy at least the jersey and track suit.

"The Sports Minister (Rajyavardhan Rathore) met us in the morning and has promised to recognise us very soon," KAI secretary Ravi Kapoor, who is here as a technical official, said.

Most of the 14 members in the kurash squad come from a judo background as the two sports are very similar.

Rathore, however, has already assured all expenses of the non-recognised federations would be borne by the ministry. Balhara also had to go through the loss of her father three months ago.

Working in Delhi Jal Board, her father suddenly died of a heart attack. He was only 42. "I am reminded of his words after I got selected for the team in February. He said 'you will win silver, not gold'. That is exactly what happened today," she said.

Jadhav is one of the four daughters of a farmer based in Belgaum. She too had to fund herself to reach here. Balhara won four bouts to win the silver and Jadhav three for bronze.

Kurash is a form of folk wrestling in which the competitors use towels to hold their opponents with an aim to throw them off the feet. It is making its debut at the Asian Games.

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    Story first published: Tuesday, August 28, 2018, 19:16 [IST]
    Other articles published on Aug 28, 2018
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