Ifeoma Nwoye of Nigeria broke the hearts of the home crowd when she defeated Indian favorite Babita Kumari in the w omen’s 51kg freestyle wrestling final at the Commonwealth Games on Friday.
The Indian got by far the biggest applause at the Indira Gandhi arena as she stepped up to receive her silver but will look back on a final of missed opportunities in which she twice dropped Nwoye but failed to pin her.
The Nigerian took the first session 2-0 before twisting Kumari on the floor in the second and sending her crashing back into the mat for another two points.
Nwoye stretched her lead before Kumari threw her for two, bring the crowd to its feet with chants of “India, India”.
But Nwoye picked up two further vital points on the floor to take the second session and the gold.
She draped herself in the green and white flag of Nigeria before going to embrace her teammates and dancing out of the arena.
Kumari, who finished eighth at the 2009 World Championships, had been looking to impress her home crowd, pinning eight-time UK champion Jo Madyarchyk of England midway through the second round of the semi to win by fall.
Kumari said she had drawn strength from her parents who were cheering her to the final.
“It feels good fighting in front of my parents,” she said. “They cheered during my bout and when I won it they were much happier than me.
Jessica MacDonald of Canada took the bronze, defeating Mpho Madi of South Africa 8-0.