Teenager Suraj Vashisht became the first Indian since 1990 to win a Greco-Roman U17 World Championship gold medal, on Tuesday in Rome.

The last Indian to have won gold at the event was when Pappu Yadav claimed the title 32 years ago. There have been five different Indian grapplers who have reached the U17 World Championships final, but now have managed to claim gold. Until Vashisht’s efforts this week.

In fact, Yadav’s effort in 1992 at the Junior Worlds was the last GR Worlds gold medal for India at any level. Hence it’s been 30 years since an Indian became Greco Roman World Champion across age categories.

The 16-year-old came up with a commanding 11-0 win over European champion Faraim Mustafayev of Azerbaijan in the 55kg weight class.

Vashisht started the match stronger, attacking with intent, causing the referee to give him a point after adjudging the Azerbaijani passive towards the end of the first half.

Early in the second half, Suraj managed a takedown to extend his lead to 3-0 and then came up with two impressive four-point throws to take the match away from Mustafayev.

Such command in his matches came through a tweak in his technique shortly before the tournament.

“He had a very open stance so we told him to close his hands,” said India coach Inderjeet Singh to United World Wrestling.

“Then the par terre defence of Indian wrestlers is weak so we told him not to be passive. He did well to defend a few par terre situations.”

For the youngster, who hails from Rithal village in the Rohtak district of Haryana, the win simply boosts his confidence and he hopes will push him forward for greater achievements.

“I have dreams to become the best in my weight class. Obviously, a senior world title is a dream as well,” he told UWW.

via UWW