India’s Gurpreet Singh and Sunil Kumar clinched silver medals in their Greco-Roman categories at the Asian Wrestling Championships in Xi’an, China on Saturday.
On the penultimate day of the competition, Gurpreet finished second in the 77kg division after being handed a 0-8 defeat by Hyeonwoo Kim of Korea in the final.
However, on his way to the final, Gurpreet put up an impressive show after thrashing Bakhit Sharif K Badr of Qatar 10-0 in the quarter-finals before eking out a narrow 6-5 victory over Tamerlan Shadukayev of Kazakhstan in the last four round.
The 87 kg final involving Sunil was a bizarre one. In a very hard-fought bout, Sunil could not breach the defence of Iran’s Hossein Ahmad Nouri despite trying for a large part of the two rounds.
At the end of the bout, it seemed both wrestlers thought they were the winners and the referee was uncertain in raising the arms too. It gave an impression that the Indian had thought he was leading till the final seconds as did the Iranian, as the second half of the bout was largely passive from both wrestlers.
Eventually, Sunil had to be content with the silver medal. The Indian had stormed into the final after prevailing over Azamat Kustubayev of Kazakhstan 6-6 in his semi-final bout. He had beaten Tokhirdzhon Okhonov of Tajikistan 14-7 in the last eight stage.
Prem was another Indian wrestler in contention for a medal after he made the bronze-medal play-off in 130 kg category but did not stand a chance against Kazakhstan’s Damir Kuzembayev, losing 0-5 after getting pinned.
He earlier lost to Muminjon Abdullaev of Uzbekistan in the quarter-finals. Prem made it to the play-offs after Abdullaev reached the gold medal round.
India’s campaign ended early in the 55kg and 63kg weight divisions when Manjeet and Vikram Krushnath Kurade lost their respective quarter-final bouts.
India’s overall tally at the tournament stood at 14 medals with one gold, five silver and eight bronze.
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