Disappointing performance by Indian grapplers on Day 1 of World Wrestling Championships

India at World Wrestling Championships 2023
India at World Wrestling Championships 2023

Indian Wrestlers had a disappointing start to the World Wrestling Championships 2023. Three out of the four wrestlers in action on Day 1 of the tournament are no longer in contention for a medal as they lost their respective bouts. Abhimanyu remained in the hunt for a bronze medal by virtue of repechage.

India started well with all four grapplers winning their opening bouts. Akash Dahiya started the proceedings by winning his first bout in the freestyle 61kg category. He was followed by Abhimanyu in the freestyle 70kg category, as he won his bout with a dominant performance of 13-2.

Sumit Malik competing in the freestyle 125kg also won his bout and became the third Indian to progress to the Round of 16. Sandeep Mann won his qualifying bout in the 86kg freestyle to head to the Round of 32.

Despite the all-winning start, the fortunes turned quickly. Akash Dahiya lost to World No.6 Jahongirmirza Turobov 7-4.

Sandeep Maan was no match for China’s Lin Zushen, losing 11-0. Sumit Malik lost to World No.7 Robert Baran 3-0. Abhimanyu competing in the 70kg freestyle managed to qualify for the quarterfinals by winning against Moldova’s Nicolai Grahmez 13-2. However, his strong run would come to an end when he would lose to the World No.2 Zain Retherford.

Even though Abhimanyu was knocked out in the quarterfinals, he still has a chance to win a medal. He was made eligible for the bronze medal via repechage as Zain Retherford, the USA wrestler who lost in the quarterfinal, entered the final of the World Wrestling Championships.

Abhimanyu would have to win two bouts in tomorrow’s repechage rounds to win a bronze at the World Championships.

Indian grapplers miss the chance to win Olympic quotas

The World Wrestling Championships also offer Olympic quota births for Paris 2024. India was unable to secure any of these births as all wrestlers were knocked out. Abhimanyu, who is still in contention for bronze, is not in contention for these quota spots as freestyle 70kg is a non-Olympic Category.

The 2023 World Wrestling Championships are being held in Belgrade and started on September 16. All Indians will be competing under the neutral flag as the Wrestling Federation of India has been suspended by the global body. Despite this, they will still be eligible for Olympic quota births.

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