Anshu Malik fought hard, very hard. But the USA’s seasoned mat technician Helen Maroulis brought her big-match experience and strong all-round play to the fore to defeat the young Indian ‘by fall’ (4-1 on points) in the women’s 57kg division final at the World wrestling championships in Oslo, Norway.
Such was the ferocity of two-time world champion Maroulis’ attacking moves in the second period of the final bout that Anshu was left injured and writhing in pain, clutching her right shoulder with tears rolling down her eyes. As Anshu grimaced in pain, she was offered on-court medical attention by the tournament doctors with women’s team’s chief national coach Kuldeep Malik by her ward’s side.
Maroulis, after celebrating her victory briefly with her coaching staff, too, looked visibly worried about her opponent’s injury and sat at a distance on the mat to check on Anshu’s well-being. It couldn’t be confirmed whether Anshu had suffered a right shoulder dislocation after Maroulis snapped the Indian’s outstretched arm with brute force.
At the start of the second period, the 2016 Rio Olympics champion (53kg) Maroulis got hold of Anshu’s left hand and yanked it down to effect a 2-point take down. Later, she pinned Anshu down and locked her opponent in a handhold position. Maroulis, the Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist (57kg), continued with her attack and then finished off the contest with a ‘victory by fall’ (VFO) by pinning Anshu to the mat with both her shoulders fixed on the mat. In the bronze medal playoff match in the women’s 59kg division, reigning Asian champion Sarita Mor defeated Sweden’s Sara Johanna Lindborg 8-2 on points.