World Wrestling Championship 2017: Disappointing start for India on Day 1
The Greco-Roman contest has never been India’s strong point and Monday didn't spring any surprise.
India was humbled on the opening day clash in Paris as all the four wrestlers—Hardeep Singh, Ravinder Khatri, Gurpreet Singh, and Yogesh—crashed out of the World Wrestling Championships after losing their opening round matches in the Greco-Roman category.
Hardeep, who won the Silver medal at the Asian Championships in Bangkok last year, couldn’t really pose enough trouble for Lithuania's Vilnius Laurinaitis and lost 5-2 in the 98kg category.
In the 71kg category, Yogesh was outsmarted 3-1 by Takeshi Izumi of Japan while Gurpreet was humbled 1-5 by Mindia Tsulukidze of Georgia in 75kg match.
Ravinder Khatri, meanwhile, faced a humiliating 0-8 defeat by a technically superior Viktor Lorincz of Hungary in the 85kg clash.
Even luck didn’t favour the men on Monday: they couldn’t play the repechage rounds for the bronze medal since none of the wrestlers who defeated them could reach the final round.
Although the Greco-Roman contest—the wrestling style in which holding the opponent below his waist is prohibited—has never been India’s strong point, fans were hoping that the wrestlers would sweat more and fight hard for the medals.
India would, however, hope the other four Greco-Roman wrestlers—Gyanendra (59kg), Ravinder (66kg), Harpreet Singh (80kg), and Naveen (130kg)—to spring up a surprise or two in tomorrow’s encounter.
Meanwhile, all eyes would be solemnly fixed on Rio bronze-medallist Sakshi Malik, who will be competing in the 60kg category, to bring home a medal when she takes on the mat on Thursday.
In Vinesh Phogat, India has pinned expectations galore, and would, therefore, like to see her run riot in women’s 48kg category. Having suffered an injury in the Rio games, the 22-year-old daughter of Haryana had made a scintillating comeback to win Asian Championship silver in the 55kg category.
The other Phogat sisters, Geeta and Babita, whose story was a huge box office success in India as well as overseas skipped the selection trials.
In the men’s freestyle event, the Asian champion Bajrang Punia would step on the mat with confidence to repeat his spectacular performance in France. He has climbed up a division after bagging a bronze at Budapest in 60kg freestyle.
Among the other promising wrestlers, Olympian Sandeep Tomar stands tall in the 57kg category for his consistency in the last couple of years. Much glory is also expected from Amit Dhankar (70kg), Praveen Rana (74kg), and Satywart Kadian (97kg), for they will be conferred with the prestigious Arjuna Award after this championship.