26th Senior Asian Wrestling Championships: Amit Kumar scoops gold; women grapplers win two bronze medals
After returning empty-handed on the first two days of the 26th Senior Asian Wrestling Championships, Indian wrestlers came out firing on day three at the KD Jadhav Wrestling Stadium in New Delhi on Friday.
The home fans went delirious when talented Amit Kumar scooped up India’s first gold medal in the 55-kg freestyle category, outgrappling North Korea’s Kyong Yang II in the final bout.
Amit, who is a 2012 Asian Championship bronze medallist, received an early setback when he was served a warning for ‘gripping’.
The 20-year-old did not allow that affect his bout as he won the first period 1-0. The second period was fought tooth and nail with both wrestlers given nothing away as it ended in a stalemate.
Amit lapped up a 4-0 lead in the third period to push his opponent on the backfoot. Kyong reduced the deficit but the Indian won 4-2 to grab the gold.
Amit’s triumph was even more creditable considering the fact that he was carrying a head injury – injury he sustained in his semifinal bout.
Amit, who took part in the 2012 London Olympics without much success, got a bye in the first round and defeated Kazakhstan’s Rassul Kaluyev in the second round. He notched up a facile win over Fumitaka Morishita of Japan in the semifinal.
There was more good news for the Indian camp.
Bajrang, who replaced Olympic medallist Yogeshwar Dutt at the eleventh hour, picked up a bronze.
Bajrang got the better of Japan’s Shogo Maeda by a fall to win the bronze.
Earlier, Bajrang lost his first round bout to North Korea’s Hak Hwang Ryong 0-3, 5-6 but rebounded to sew up the bronze through the repechage round.
Meanwhile, Indian women wrestlers made merry, collecting two bronze medals.
Vinesh won a bronze in the 51-kg freestyle division, pipping Thailand’s Sriprapa Tho-Kaew 1-0, 3-0 in the final.
Vinesh earlier beat Japan’s Nanami Irie 1-2, 1-1, 1-0 in the opening round to reach the semifinals. In the semifinals, Vinesh won the first period 6-1 against Kazakhstan’s Tatyana Amanzol and was poised to make it to the final. But the Kazak girl bounced back to win the next two periods 1-0, 2-0 to reach the final.
Another Indian women wrestler, Babita Kumari, a cousin of Vinesh, also secured a bronze in the 55-kg freestlye division - beating Liliya Shakirova of Uzbekistan 5-0, 3-0.
World Championship bronze medallist, Babita earlier lost to Japan’s Kanako Murata 3-3, 0-6, 4-5 in the semifinal.