Aman Sehrawat on Saturday saved India’s blushes by ensuring the country is represented in men’s freestyle wrestling at the 2024 Paris Olympics after securing a quota place at the ongoing World Wrestling Olympic Qualifiers in Istanbul, Turkey.

On a day when former World Championships silver medallist Deepak Punia’s Olympic hopes came to an end, Sehrawat, the 2023 U23 World Champion, clinched a quota in the men’s 57kg event after a dominant run. Sujeet Kalkal (65kg) and Jaideep (74kg) have the opportunity to add to India’s quotas when they compete in the repechage rounds on Sunday.

Sehrawat started with a 10-4 win over Bulgarian Georgi Vangelov before beating Ukranian Andrii Yatsenko 12-2 in the quarter-finals. In the winner-take-all semis, he was up against North Korean Han Chongsong and comfortably beat him 12-2 to clinch India’s first men’s freestyle wrestling quota for the Paris Olympics.

In the 65kg categroy, Kalkal began with a narrow 3-2 win over Uzbekistan’s Umidjon Jalolov before following it up with a straightforward 10-0 wins over South Korea’s Yun Junsik and Canada’s Lachlan McNeil.

In the semi-finals, Kalkal went down 1-6 to Mongolia’s Tulga Tumur Ochir.

In the 74kg event, Jaideep lost to eventual finalist Tajmuraz Salkazanov of Slovakia in the quarter-finals. Both Jaideep and Kalkal will compete in the repechage rounds on Sunday to secure qualification for the Olympics.

It was a disappointing day for the rest of the wrestling contingent as Punia (86kg), Deepak (97kg) and Sumit (125kg) lost in their respective first-round bouts to end their hopes of qualifying for the Olympics.