No one asked how disappointed she was, no one cared. The crowds stayed away as Alka Tomar let the advantage slip and slid towards a bronze medal in the freestyle event of women’s wrestling on the third day of the Senior Asian Wrestling Championship on Friday.
But disappointment was writ large on Tomar’s face when she met the media after accepting the bronze medal in the 59kg category.
Chief coach Pyara Ram Sondhi had by then given the team members a piece of his mind for showing little intensity, and the Meerut wrestler agreed that a lot was needed to improve the standards.
Losing the semi-final to China’s Liu Fegming in three rounds, Tomar said the result could have been different, but for a rush of blood. “I had the upper hand and could have beaten her but I rushed it,” Tomar said. “Gold nikal gaya.” (“The gold slipped away.”)
Tomar took bronze after winning her repechage bout over Kazakstan’s Miruert Dynbayeva.
Sondhi, a former member of the men’s staff under whom Sushil Kumar won the bronze in Beijing Olympics, has already chalked out plans for a new training regime for the women, who won two bronze, though they were in the running for six — all through repechage bouts. “We learnt our lessons today,” he said. “Our girls will be put under a severe training regimen.”
He said the team members are not mentally tough enough. “A combination of counselling and hard practice is the need of the hour,” he said. “A couple of them could have played in the finals, but for foolish mistakes.”
Result-wise, the hosts repeated the medal haul from the 2009 event.
Suman Kundu beat Kazakhstan’s Olga Kalinina in the 63kg category to secure the second bronze for India, her first Asian championship medal.
Four others, including Babita Kumari, who stretched her Japanese opponent Sakurai Hiromi till the end, missed out on a medal. Nirmala Devi lost to Sim-Hyang So of North Korea in the 48kg category, while Geetika Jakhar lost to China’s Chen Ying in the 67kg category. Anmol was later beaten comprehensively by Inoue Yoshiko of Japan in 72kg.
Chinese women dominated the proceedings on Day Three, winning four of the seven gold medals.
Zhao Shasha defeated Mimura Fuyuko of Japan in the 48-kg category; North Korea’s So Sim Hyang and Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Lua took bronze.
In the 51kg category, China’s Hui beat Zhuldyz Eshimova of Kazakhstan for the gold. Sakurai Hiromi of Japan and Han Kum Ok of North Korea settled for the bronze.
Yang Senlia won the third gold for China in the 55kg category, beating Japan’s Matsukawa Chikako. Choe Hungyong of North Korea and Mongolia’s S Byambatseren bagged the bronze.
China’s Liu Fengming got the fourth gold for China — she beat Mongolia’s S Battsetseg in the 59kg category.
In other results, Korea’s Sang Eun beat Cui Haili of China for the 63kg gold, and Japan’s Iijima Chiaki beat Mongolia’s B Oyunsuren in 67kg category. Kazakhstan Guzel Guzel Manyurova won a gold defeating G Naranchimeg of Mongolia.