Indian Men’s 85kg Greco-Roman wrestler Anil Kumar won his first bronze medal at the Asian Championships. Jyoti contesting in the women’s 75 kg category also had to settle for bronze after she lost her semifinal bout on the second day of the tournament. India’s performance on the mat on the first day had brought just one bronze medal over the likes of Harpreet Singh.

The Asian Championships being held in Delhi this year saw a remarkable comeback from Anil Kumar as he defeated his opponent over Uzbekistan’s Muhammadali Shamsiddinov 7-6 to clinch the bronze medal. It was probably one of his greatest fight backs on the international stage. Anil was trailing 1-6 in the first round after his Uzbek rival used some remarkable tricks to pin him down. But he showed great determination to make a recovery in the later rounds.

He gained two more points when he released himself from his opponent’s grip and also managed to take him down to earn two points. After that Anil never looked back and had a fine display of confidence before his home crowd. He pinned Muhammadali twice in quick succession to lead 7-6 in the final minutes. He fought to the best of his capabilities to jump up the medal plinth.

“I just wanted to come out of that position when I was down on the mat and with the help of my coaches, who were guiding me, I could turn the table around,” Anil said. “I am really very happy and proud to give my country a medal. The crowd really motivated me to turn the tide in my favour. It was really nice to get the home support,”

This was the maiden appearance at the Asian Championships for the 29-year-old Anil Kumar. Anil got a chance at the bronze medal match as his opponent Japan’s Atsushi Matsumoto who defeated him in the quarters 7-0 made his way to the finals.

Jyoti was the second person to win a medal for India that day. She competed in the 75 kg category for the Asian Championships. She lost her semifinal bout to Japan’s Masako Furuichi 0-10 in a one sided match. However due to less number of wrestlers in her category she did not have to face a competition in the repechage round and automatically qualified for the bronze medal. She had defeated Korea’s Seoyeon Jeong 5-1 earlier in the qualifying round.

The fate of the other Indians competing in the tournament was not so bright on the second day. Women’s 63 kg category contestant Ritu, Men’s 71 kg Greco Roman wrestler Deepak, and the Men’s 59 kg Greco Roman wrestler Gyanender had to return without a medal from their categories.

Ritu was beaten in her semifinal bout by Battsetseg Soronzonbold of Mongolia 2-12. She got another chance at the repechage round where she faced Korea’s Jinyoung Hang. The match score was tied at 1-1 but as the Korean had scored her point later in the match she was declared as the winner. It was commendable display from Ritu but she had to return without the honour. She had defeated Min-Wen Hou of Taipei 5-4 in the quarterfinals in a closely fought match.

Deepak competing in the 71 kg Breco Roman wrestling also had to face disappointment when he went down to Kyrgyzstan’s Nurgazy Asangulov 1-8 in the repechage round. He was no match for his rival, being pinned down several times in his bout. He had earlier lost in quarters against Iran’s Afshin Nemat Byabangard 1-3 but still managed to qualify for the repechage.

Gyanender failed to qualify for the quarters after he lost his qualification match against by Kaly Sulaimanov of Kazakhstan 1-5. This brought one of the most disappointing starts for India on the second day.

With Men’s freestyle category kicking off soon, India need to pick up pace in the tournament to land a respectable position in the medals tally.


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