U23 world champion Reetika Hooda ready for bigger challenges after National Games

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Goa: Reetika Hooda, India’s first women’s wrestler to win the U23 World
Championship gold last week, had to directly fly in to Goa for the 37th National Games. But instead
of showing any signs of fatigue, the Rohtak resident was pumped up to prove a point as she
stormed through every opponent to clinch the gold medal in the 76kg category on Wednesday
evening.
Reetika, who moved to a higher weight category because 72kg category is not part of the Olympics,
is already thinking of qualifying for the Paris Games and felt that the National Games in Goa was a
good opportunity for her to show that she can better the competition in India after the world
championship high.
“I have been competing with these girls for a while now. I have won at times and also lost. I came
into this tournament with a mindset of winning gold. I was confident and that showed in my
performance today.,” said Reetika after winning the final against Divya Kakaran.
Reetika had taken control of the bout, scoring a couple of take downs when Divya suffered an ankle
injury and lost on technical superiority on the opening day of wrestling competitions at the Campal
Sports Village.
Speaking about her experience at the World U23 championships in Tirana, Albania, Reetika said,
“the feeling of winning the gold was special. But I had seen my seniors carry the Indian flag after
winning. A bit disappointed that I couldn’t do that as I was playing under UWW banner.”
Reetika, who shifted to wrestling after trying her luck with handball, said playing the National
Games soon after gave her the feeling of being at home with seniors and friends cheering her on.

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