Commonwealth Games, Birmingham Day 1 finals set

By Vinay Siwach

COVENTRY, England (August 5) -- The Commonwealth Games are moving towards the business end and wrestling will be one of the sports to be highlighted at the Games. At the Coventry Arena, wrestlers will be eyeing to win the gold medals in 12 freestyle and women's wrestling. On day one, six weight classes in action, three freestyle and three for women's.


15:15: The finals for the night are set

FS 65kg:  Lachlan MCNEIL (CAN) vs. Bajrang PUNIA (IND)
FS 86kg:  Deepak PUNIA (IND) vs. Muhammad INAM (PAK)
FS 125kg: Zaman ANWAR (PAK) vs. Amarveer DHESI (CAN)

WW 57kg: Anshu MALIK (IND) vs. Odunayo ADEKUOROYE (NGR)
WW 62kg: Ana GONZALEZ (CAN) vs. Sakshi MALIK (IND)
WW 68kg: Blessing OBORUDUDU (NGR) vs. Linda MORAIS (CAN)

14:54: Deepak PUNIA (IND) will wrestle for the 86kg gold after beating Moore 3-1 in the semifinals. Dhesi with a technical superiority 12-2 win over Grewal. He will wrestle the 125kg gold 

14:51: Two India-Canada semifinals. At 86kg, Deepak PUNIA (IND) is wrestling Alexander MOORE (CAN) and leading 3-0. At 125kg, Mohit GREWAL (IND) and Amarveer DHESI (CAN) have exchanged takedowns with Dhesi leading 2-2 on criteria.

14:45: Blessing OBORUDUDU (NGR) is back in the 68kg final at Commonwealth. At 57kg, Odunayo ADEKUOROYE (NGR) is up against Hannah TAYLOR (CAN) and begins with a double for four. A takedown makes it 6-0. A takedown before the break and one after gives her a 10-0 win and a place in the final against Anshu MALIK (IND)

15:42: Bajrang PUNIA (IND) with another top win. He beats George RAMM (ENG) 10-0 in the 65kg semifinal and will be defending his gold from four years ago. 

15:10: Anshu MALIK (IND) and Sakshi MALIK (IND) are the two finalists for India. At 57kg, Anshu has made it 10-0 while at 62kg, Sakshi also blanks her opponent 10-0

15:05: Lachlan MCNEIL (CAN) is going into the 65kg finals. He beats Inayat ULLAH (PAK) 11-0 and is a win away from being crowned as the Commonwealth champion. On Mat B, 86kg defending champion Muhammad INAM (PAK) is into the semifinals

14:50: The first semifinal of the night is Esther KOLAWOLE (NGR) and U23 world champion Ana GONZALEZ (CAN) at 62kg. Gonzalez takes the first takedown but Kolawole blasts a double to lead 2-2 on criteria. Just before the break, Gonzalez is quick to score a takedown and lead 4-2. Another slow start but Gonzalez with a counter and go behind to extend her lead 6-2. Single leg counter from Kolawole and she trims the lead to 6-4. A minute left in the bout. Gonzalez gets her takedown and a turn to make it 10-4. That will be the end of this semifinal she will wrestle for gold at 62kg

14:45: Edward LESSING (RSA) with a huge five! He blanks Syerus ESLAMI (ENG) 10-0 in the 86kg and will wrestle for the spot in the finals

14:35: Former world champion Linda MORAIS (CAN) has jumped up to 68kg and she begins her campaign with a fall and will wrestle in the semifinal here in Birmingham.

14:26: A top bout at 68kg on Mat A. Olympic silver medalist Blessing OBORUDUDU (NGR) up against Divya KAKRAN (IND). The two begin cautiously but Oborududu scores a stepout to lead 1-0. The Nigerian wrestler has raced to a 5-0 lead at the break after adding two takedowns. Kakran tries going for the far leg but Oborududu manages to keep her away and counters with two takedowns. She finishes things with another takedown and win 11-0 

14:25: Mohit GREWAL (IND) and Alexios KAOUSLIDIS (CYP) battle it out for six minutes but it's Grewal who keeps it under control and wins 10-1 at 125kg. Bajrang PUNIA (IND) moves into the semifinals at 65kg with another fall

14:10: Mandhir KOONER (ENG) was warned for passivity against Mohamed BUNDU (SLE) and looked like Bundu will make a move against Kooner. But the England wrestler pulled off a four-pointer and then secured the fall and the crowd enjoyed that

14:08: Defending champion at 86kg Muhammad INAM (PAK) gets going with a 10-0 win against Kieran MALONE (SCO). He will now wrestle in the 86kg quarterfinals

14:04: World silver medalist Anshu MALIK (IND) up against Irene SYMEONIDIS (AUS) for her 57kg quarterfinals. She begins with a go behind and turns to lead 8-0 in 36 seconds. Malik will close the bout with a takedown and win in a minute and four seconds

14:01: Returning bronze medalist at 86kg Syerus ESLAMI (ENG) trailed Charalampos CHOIRAS (CYP) for five minutes and 30 seconds but scored a takedown to claim a 6-4 lead and win his 86kg quarterfinals. The crowd has gone ecstatic.

13:55: Lachlan MCNEIL (CAN) with a figure-4 and he moves past Ross CONNELLY (SCO) with a 10-0 technical fall. He will wrestle in the 65kg semifinals

13:45: Blessing OBORUDUDU (NGR) with a fantastic warm-up win against Blandine NGIRI (CMR). She used a series of takedowns to win 10-0

13:30: The referees and fans are ready. The bouts are resuming and set for the quarterfinals of the 6 weight classes

13:00: We had a longer delay than expected but seems like we should be back on track in the next 15 minutes. We will be resuming action at 13:30 local time

11:00: We are experiencing a small technical delay in the competition but we will be back soon. We are expecting a delay of an hour. Wrestling will resume at 12:15 local time.

10:55: Mandhir KOONER (ENG) with another win for England. The crowd loves it as Kooner beats Aaro LEHAULI (TGA) at 125kg. At 86kg, Deepak PUNIA (IND) also begins with a win.

10:50: George RAMM (ENG) absolutely puts the crowd on its feet. Mostafa REZAEIFAR (AUS) tried his best to break Ramm's defense but the England wrestler hangs on for 3-0 win

10:45: India's Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist Bajrang PUNIA (IND) with a quick pin over  Lowe BINGHAM (NRU) at 65kg. He is the defending champion as well

10:40: Inayat ULLAH (PAK) starts with a dominating win over Adam VELLA (MLT) and Ross CONNELLY (SCO) beats Brahm RICHARDS (NZL) at 65kg.

10:30: Welcome to day one of the Commonwealth Games. Inayat ULLAH (PAK) and Adam VELLA (MLT) will begin the proceedings on Mat A at 57kg. Brahm RICHARDS (NZL) vs Ross CONNELLY (SCO) in the 65kg quarterfinals.


India, Canada share 5 golds as Commonwealth Games comes to close

By Vinay Siwach

COVENTRY, England (August 6) -- As the Commonwealth Games came to a close, two of the most successful countries in the history of the Games -- Canada and India -- established their supremacy, sharing five of the six gold medals on offer on Saturday.

India won the freestyle golds at 57kg and 74kg along with the 53kg gold in women's wrestling. Canada had two champions on Saturday with Justina DI STASIO (CAN) winning the 76kg gold while Nishant RANDHAWA (CAN) winning the 97kg gold.

Miesinnei GENESIS (NGR) was the other champion on Saturday as she claimed the third women's wrestling gold for Nigeria by winning the 50kg weight category.

But two wrestlers who stood out at the Coventry Arena were Olympic silver medalist Ravi KUMAR (IND) and world bronze medalist Vinesh PHOGAT (IND).

Kumar finished all three of his bouts well before the six minutes and showed the gulf in class in 57kg in Birmingham.

Wrestling Nigeria’s multiple-Commonwealth medalist Ebikewenimo WELSON (NGR) in the final, Kumar used a leg lace to lead 8-0 before getting a takedown in the second period to finish the bout 10-0.

This was Kumar’s first medal at the Commonwealth Games.

“It’s always special to win the medal at Games and this was also special,” Kumar said. “Tokyo silver was special and so is this medal.”

Kumar, hoping to win a World Championships medal in Belgrade, has been on an incredible run, winning three golds and losing only one bout since Tokyo.

He did give up four points in the semifinal against Asad ALI (PAK) but said that it was more about getting stuck in a move.

"It's wrestling and sometimes we get stuck in a move," he said. "I can't say I was off guard or wasn't moving well. Just a move I got stuck in and he managed to score."

NAVEEN (IND)NAVEEN (IND), red, defeated Muhammad TAHIR (PAK) 9-0 in the 74kg final. (Photo: UWW / Helena Curtis)

NAVEEN (IND) added another gold to India’s account as he dominated the 74kg field and defeated Muhammad TAHIR (PAK) 9-0 in the gold bout.

Tahir was put on passivity as well when Naveen continued his attacks. Four takedowns gave him the eight other points.

A bronze medalist at the Asian Championships, Naveen will try to make the Indian team at 74kg for the World Championships.

Nishan RANDHAWA (CAN)Nishan RANDHAWA (CAN) became the Commonwealth Games champion at 97kg. (Photo: UWW / Helena Curtis)

At 97kg, Nishan RANDHAWA (CAN) defeated two U20 World bronze medalists en route to winning the gold medal with some tough wins.

In the quarterfinal, he wrestled Deepak NEHRA (IND) and almost suffered a loss as Nehra was leading 6-6 on criteria with nine seconds remaining. But Randhawa scored a stepout and got the all-important point to win 7-6 and reach the semifinals. He managed to beat Tayab RAZA (PAK) 7-0 to make it to the final.

"Nehra was defending very well and it was a back-and-forth match," Randhawa said. "But I knew I have enough time to score a takedown. He went to the zone and I capitalized with the stepout."

He wrestled another U20 world bronze medalist in the final in Nicolas DE LANGE (RSA) and made it look easy with a 9-3 win for the gold.

"I have wrestled him before at the U20 Worlds and I know his style," he said. "It's great to win the gold here."

Randhawa, a U20 bronze medalist himself, will now be hoping to medal at the senior World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia.

"I train in Iowa and I believe in my potential," he said. "As you train with the best in the world, you keep improving and hopefully I will be able to beat the wrestlers at 97kg. If not now, then when?"

Vinesh PHOGAT (IND)Vinesh PHOGAT (IND) claimed her third consecutive Commonwealth Games gold medal. (Photo: UWW / Helena Curtis)

Vinesh wins third gold

Her cousin sister Geeta PHOGAT (IND) may be the first Indian woman to win the Commonwealth gold but Vinesh PHOGAT (IND) became the first woman from the country to win it three times.

In a confidence-boosting gold win in Birmingham, Phogat defeated world bronze medalist Samantha STEWART (CAN) and African champion Mercy ADEKUOROYE (NGR) in Round 1 and Round 2 to all but confirm the gold in the morning session.

She pinned Stewart and almost pinned Adekuoroye but the Nigerian was in danger position for close to two minutes and lost 6-0.

"It's a good confidence-boosting win for me," Phogat said. "Canada and Nigeria do pose a challenge in this tournament but thankfully I managed to win here."

Miesinnei GENESIS (NGR)Miesinnei GENESIS (NGR) celebrates after winning the 50kg gold medal in Birmingham. (Photo: UWW / Helena Curtis)

At 50kg, Madison PARKS (CAN) and Miesinnei GENESIS (NGR) were involved in a close battle in the gold medal bout with Parks scoring a stepout when she was put on the activity clock. But Genesis took a 1-1 criteria lead and as the match entered the final minute, it looked like Genesis will hang on for a 1-1 win but hit a lateral drop and secured the fall to win Nigeria's third gold medal in women's wrestling.

As she was trailing, Parks went for a single leg shot but got countered for the pin. She had made a stunning comeback in the semifinals against Pooja GEHLOT (IND). After giving up a six-point lead, Parks slowly worked her way with takedowns and made it 6-4. She scored a takedown with nine seconds remaining on the clock. Gehlot, hoping to keep her one-point lead, moved away but Parks sprung to action and hit a huge underhook for four to win 9-6.

Genesis was the third gold medalist for Nigeria after Odunayo ADEKUOROYE (NGR) and Blessing OBORUDUDU (NGR) won the gold at 57kg and 68kg respectively.

Justina DI STASIO (CAN)Justina DI STASIO (CAN) hit a four against Hannah RUEBEN (NGR) in the 76kg final. (Photo: UWW / Helena Curtis)

The final gold of the night went to former world champion Justina DI STASIO (CAN) who defeated Hannah RUEBEN (NGR), 4-2, in the final to capture her first Commonwealth Games gold.

Her's was the only big move of the final as she hit a four-pointer against Rueben who managed to score only two points.

Earlier in May, Di Stasio made a comeback to the sport after two years and managed to win a bronze medal. But with ambitions of winning the World Championships gold as she did in 2018, Di Stasio got a big shot in the arm with the gold in Birmingham.



GOLD: Ravi KUMAR (IND) df. Ebikewenimo WELSON (NGR), 10-0

BRONZE: Asad ALI (PAK) df. Suraj SINGH (NZL), 11-0 
BRONZE: Darthe CAPELLAN (CAN) df. Jakobo TAU (RSA), 12-2 

GOLD: NAVEEN (IND) df. Muhammad TAHIR (PAK), 9-0

BRONZE: Jasmit PHULKA (CAN) df. Cole HAWKINS (NZL), 10-0
BRONZE: Ogbonna JOHN (NGR) df. Charlie BOWLING (ENG), 10-0

GOLD: Nishan RANDHAWA (CAN) df. Nicolaas DE LANGE (RSA), 9-3

BRONZE: Thomas BARNS (AUS) df. Maulalo ALOFIPO (SAM), 12-0
BRONZE: Deepak NEHRA (IND) df. Tayab RAZA (PAK), 10-2

Women’s Wrestling

GOLD: Miesinnei GENESIS (NGR) df. Madison PARKS (CAN), via fall

BRONZE: Pooja GEHLOT (IND) df. Christelle LETCHIDJIO (SCO), 12-2


Key bout: Vinesh PHOGAT (IND) df. Samantha STEWART (CAN), via fall

GOLD: Justina DI STASIO (CAN) df. Hannah RUEBEN (NGR), 4-2

BRONZE: Pooja SIHAG (IND) df. Naomi DE BRUINE (AUS), 10-0
BRONZE: Georgina NELTHORPE (ENG) df. Madusu KOROMA (SLE), via fall