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Reetika becomes first Indian woman wrestler to become U23 World Champion

Reetika defeated the USA's Kennedy Blades in the 76kg final at the U23 World Wrestling Championships.

Reetika becomes first Indian woman wrestler to become U23 World Champion

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 27 Oct 2023 4:03 AM GMT

Reetika defeated USA's Kennedy Blades in the final to become the first-ever Indian woman wrestler to win the UWW U-23 World Championships on Thursday.

Reetika, who recently switched from 72kg to 76kg, was against a tough opponent in the form of Blades who is a U20 Worlds medalist and former junior world champion.

Reetika produced a brilliant counter-offense game to shut Blades and started the bout with two points through stepouts. Blades made a comeback with a double-leg attack to make it 2-2.

Reetika went into the break with a lead of 3-2. Blades was desperate to attack but Reetika expertly kept herself distance and scored a takedown to make it 5-2.

It was no looking back for the Asian Championships bronze medalist from Rohtak as she scored another takedown before clinching the gold with another step out.

Earlier, Reetika started the tournament with a 9-1 win over Japanese Nodoka Yamamoto in the qualification and defeated Rita Talismanovaa in the quarter-finals 16-6.

She defeated Anastasiya Alpyeyeva of Ukraine 5-0 in the semi-finals to set up her final clash.

Reetika became the first-ever female wrestler from India to become the U23 World Champion while the men's category saw Aman Sehrawat clinch the title last year in 57kg.

Another wrestler from Rohtak, Neha Sharma battled hard in the finals of 55kg against Umi Imai of Japan but lost 2-4 to win the silver medal. Nitika won bronze in the 59kg category defeating Michela Rankin 5-0 in the bronze medal clash.

India has won a total of five medals at the U23 World Championships in Tirana, Albania with Naveen and Sagar Jaglan winning bronze medals in men's 74kg and 79kg respectively.

All the Indian wrestlers are playing under the UWW banner as the Wrestling Federation of India is suspended on the grounds of administrative issues.

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