Months after marriage, wrestler Divya books Worlds ticket

Having already won CWG and Asian Games medals in the past, the Uttar Pradesh grappler now dreams of finishing on the podium at the Olympics 
Divya Kakran after winning the 76kg World Championships selection trials on August 25, 2023.
Divya Kakran after winning the 76kg World Championships selection trials on August 25, 2023.

CHENNAI: After getting married to bodybuilder Sachin Pratap in February this year, wrestler Divya Kakran decided to return to the mat within a fortnight. The setting was completely different this time though. She has shifted to Meerut in Uttar Pradesh from Delhi leaving the academy where she had trained for more than a decade.

Having won two bronze at the Commonwealth Games (2018 and 2022) and a bronze medal at the 2018 Asian Games apart from multiple international medals in her pet weight category (68kg), Divya was itching to represent the country in the biggest sporting extravaganza, the Olympics. 

"I married in February so that I will get some time to return to the mat and qualify for the Paris Olympics," Divya told this daily after winning the 76kg selection trials held for the World Championships in Patiala on Friday. The Worlds is the first qualifier for the Olympics.But the competition is not her first since marriage. She did take part in the Asian Games selection trials last month but was beaten in the final in 50 seconds by Haryana wrestler Kiran.
"Throughout my wrestling career, I competed in 68kg apart from a few exceptions when I played in 72kg. That proved to be the difference as I committed a lot of mistakes in the 76kg final. It's good that I lost that bout as I would not have rectified my errors had I won the final. I am an aggressive wrestler but here at 76kg, most of the competitors play defensively. I learnt that last time and this helped me in the Worlds trials. I avenged my previous loss against Kiran and beat her in the final," 25-year-old Divya said.
Divya, who recently joined the Uttar Pradesh government as Naib Tehsildar, believes the Almighty has once given her a chance to fulfill her Olympic dream. "Time has come to fulfill my long-cherished dream. I will try to qualify for the Paris Games in the Worlds scheduled next month in Belgrade, Serbia."

Antim, Sarita win
Talented Antim Panghal, who recently became the first Indian wrestler to clinch two consecutive gold at the U-20 World Championships, won the 53kg trials to book a place in the national team. She won the Asian Games selection trials as well but was kept as a standby to Vinesh Phogat, who was given direct entry by the ad-hoc committee. Vinesh later pulled out of the quadrennial event to pave the way for Antim to compete. Sarita Mor also won the trials in the 57kg to make it to the team.
Meanwhile, all the six Greco-Roman wrestlers, who won the Asian Games trials, decided to skip the Worlds trials as reported by this daily. Competitions were held in all 10 weight categories in women's wrestling and Greco-Roman on Friday. The selection trials in men's freestyle will be held on Saturday.

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