None of the six Indian wrestlers in action could secure an Olympic quota for the Tokyo Games even as Ashu and Gupreet Singh won bronze medals at the Asian Qualifiers in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Friday.
Only the finalists will earn a place in the Tokyo Games from this event and five Indians lost in the last-four stage to miss the chance of qualifying on the opening day of the competition.
Much was expected from Sunil Kumar but the country’s top Greco Roman wrestler could not make the cut.
Competing in the 87kg category, Asian champion Sunil began his campaign with a 7-0 win over Kyrgyzstan’s Sukhrob Abdulkhaev but lost a tough semifinal 5-9 to local hope Nursultan Tursynov, who pulled off solid winning throw towards the end of the bout..
He lost his bronze play-off by technical superiority against Masato Sumi from Japan.
Ashu (67kg) and Gupreet Singh (77kg) later won bronze medals in contrasting fashion.
None of India’s Greco Roman wrestlers have qualified for the 2020 Games as yet but three free style wrestlers (men) – Bajrang Punia (65kg), Ravi Dahiya (57kg) and Deepak Punia (86kg) – have made the cut through the World Championship.
Vinesh Phogat (53kg) is the lone Indian woman wrestler to have qualified for the Games.
The ones who would miss the chance at this event will get one final opportunity at the World Qualifiers, slated in Sofia, Bulgaria from May 6-9.
Ravi (97kg) lost his quarterfinal but still made the bronze play-off against Korea’s Seyeol Lee, to whom he lost 1-3.
The women’s competition will be held on Saturday while the men’s free style competition is slated for Sunday.
Gyanender (60kg) began by beating Taipei’s Jui Chi Huang by technical superiority but lost his semifinal 1-6 to Kyrguszstan’s Zholaman Sharshenbekov. He later lost his bronze medal fight 3-4 to Korea’s Hanjae Chung.
In 67kg, Ashu won his quarterfinal 5-3 against Qiye Tyan but lost the semifinal by technical superiority to Iran’s Mohammadreza Abdolhamid Geraei. Putting up a dominant show in the fight for bronze against Tajikistan’s Sheroz Ochilov, Ashu prevailed 8-1.
Gurpreet began in impressive fashion, winning the 77kg quarterfinal against Korea’s Hyeonwoo Kim, but lost the semifinal 2-8 to Kyrgyzstan’s Akzhol Makhmudov. He claimed bronze when his Palestinian opponent Rabie KA Khalil did not turn up due to injury.
Naveen lost his semifinal 1-7 to Korea’s Minseok Kim and his third place bout 1-5 to China’s Lingzhe Meng.