Pro Wrestling League - Day 6: UP Warriors complete incredible comeback to edge out Delhi Veer
Day 6 action between neighbours saw the Delhi Veer matched-up against UP Warriors, who were still waiting to get off the mark and make an impression on the scoreboard. The respective captains Vinesh Phogat and Babita Kumari, also cousin sisters, decided on blocking out the Women’s 69Kg and the Men’s 65Kg respectively to kick off the action.
The first bout in the men’s 57kg category featured Mongolian grappler Erdenbat Bekhabayar stepping up to the mat against the UP franchise’s representative Jaideep Kumar, who opened the scoring on the night and took a 2-0 lead after countering his opponent’s attempted single leg takedown. It did not take Bekhabayar long to tie the scores with his second attempted single leg that was more successful than the first, to head into the first break of the night.
It was the Mongolian who furthered his score in the second round with a well-executed fake to lead 4-2, before hanging on and repelling Jaideep Kumar’s repeated attempts to even up the score and held on to a narrow 4-3 victory to give the first bout to the Delhi Veer.
The second match-up of the night was in the Women’s 58kg division and featured the Russian Yesilirmak Elif Jale representing the Delhi franchise against the 20 year old youngster Sarita, of the UP Warriors. After a watchful and defensive start from both grapplers, it was Sarita who opened the UP Warrior’s account with a penalty point to go into the break with a slender lead of 1-0.
The second round began in the same defensive vein that the first one did, that saw neither wrestler willing to commit and make a mistake, displaying a large degree of passivity to close out an uneventful bout in favour of the UP Warriors to tie up the overall scores at 1-1 on the night.
The Men’s 125 Kg weightclass bout was next with Krishan Kumar representing the Delhi Veer against Joginder Kumar of the Up Warriors. After some early jostling for an advantageous position, it was Krishan Kumar who took a 2-1 lead at the 2 minute mark, which was soon overturned when Joginder Kumar tripped him up to take his back and a 3-2 lead going into the break.
Round 2 burst into life with both wrestlers going for the kill and exchanging huge takedowns to leave the score tied at 8-8 just a minute and a half into proceedings, before regaining their respective defences and closing out the evenly contested bout with a victory for Krishan Kumar of the Delhi Veer by virtue of a higher scoring tackle.
The 4th bout of the night showcased the grappling talents of the Women in the 48kg category with Delhi Veer captain and 2014 Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist Vinesh Phogat squaring off against Kogut Oleksandra of Ukraine. It took only 30 seconds for Vinesh Phogat to open the scoring by taking a 2-0 lead, that was subsequently doubled within the minute mark. She then extended her lead to 5 points by forcing her opponent out of bounds.
Vinesh Phogat began the second round in the same dominant fashion that she ended the first by taking her opponent’s back to race to a 7-0 lead, before further increasing it by another 4 points in quick succession, hence ending the contest early due to technical superiority with a scoreline of 11-0.
With the Mangalyatan University Delhi Veer leading 3-1, we headed into the 5th bout contested in the Men’s 74 Kg weightclass with the onus on the UP Warriors to win all their remaining 3 bouts in order to be victorious on the night.
While Dinesh Kumar of India took to the mat for the Delhi franchise, it was the Mongolian Purevjav Unurbat who stepped up to the plate for the UP Warriors who desperately needed a victory. After a largely uneventful round, it was first Unurbat who gained a point thanks to a technical foul by Dinesh Kumar and then headed into the break leading 2-0 after pushing his opponent out of bounds.
With both grapplers displaying solid defence in the beginning, it was again Unurbat who made inroads by changing levels deceptively and taking his opponent’s back to double his lead. The Mongolian then extended the lead to 5-0 to close out Round 2, giving the UP Warriors a lifeline on the night, taking the overall score to 3-2 in favour of the Delhi Veer going into the penultimate match-up of the night.
Bout 6 featured the Women’s 53Kg weightclass with Ukranian youngster and Gold Medalist in the 2015 European Championship, Horishna Lilia, taking to the mat against UP Warriors captain and Icon player, Babita Kumari. It was the Indian who started off brightly, but found her single leg attempt reversed beautifully as the Ukrainian took an early 2-0 lead.
No sooner had that happened, Babita cut the lead to 1 by forcing her opponent out of bounds. The remainder of the round saw both grapplers relentless in their pressure as parity was ensured with a 4-4 scoreline heading into the break.
The second round started in the same breathless fashion as the first with the Ukranian shooting for a single leg and rolling through to establish a considerable lead of 12-4. Babita Kumari was quick to respond with 2 takedowns of her own as she cut the lead to 4 with just over a minute left. The irrepressible Indian was not done with her stellar comeback though as she further cut the lead to 1 point with just a shade over 20 seconds left and unbelievably rallied to take the match in the dying seconds with a scoreline of 13-12, in what was surely one of the bouts of the tournament thus far.
We headed into the final bout with the overall scores between the Mangalayatan University Delhi Veer and the UP Warriors tied at 3-3, meaning that the men’s 97Kg match-up featuring Gurpal Singh for Delhi and Satyavrat Kadian for UP would be of paramount importance.
Understandably both grapplers were solid in their defence, not wanting to make a mistake before Satyavrat drew first blood by taking a 2-0 lead just before the completion of the first round. The second round started with both wrestlers displaying intensity and intent, but it was again Satyavrat who took his opponent down to establish a 4-0 lead, before committing a technical foul to give Gurpal Singh his first point.
It mattered little though, as Satyavrat Kadian registered a 4-1 victory to complete an incredible 4th victory on the trot to give the UP Warriors the day’s honours with a scoreline of 4-3 over the Mangalayatan University Delhi Veer.