Thursday, 4 June, 2020

Asian Wrestling Championships: Sunil Kumar wins gold in 87-kg Greco Roman

Arjun Halakurki (55kg) gets bronze defeating Donghyeok Won of Korea 7-4

By Shri Ram Shaw

Newswave @ New Delhi

Greco Roman wrestler Sunil Kumar recreated history when he opened India’s medal account in the Asian Wrestling Championships at New Delhi by winning a Gold. He thus became the third Indian to win a Gold in Greco-Roman.

Wrestler Sunil Kumar

The seasoned grappler beat Azat Salidinov from Kyrgyzstan in the final of the 87 kg category. Sunil Kumar had reached the final by a victory over Kazakh opponent Azamat Kustubayev to finish the semi-final bout 12-8.  Last year also, Kumar had made it to the final and ended with a silver medal.

Sunil Kumar started India’s Asian Wrestling Championship Campaign on a golden note breaking a 27-year old gold medal drought in the Greco-Roman category. Sunil now becomes only the third Indian ever to achieve this feat after Pappu Yadav.

 Sunil defeated Azat Salidinov of Kyrgyzstan by a scoreline of 5-0.  Sunil with his comprehensive defence was able to keep Salidinov at bay for most of the bout. Salidinov didn’t have an answer to the strategy of Sunil and finally went down pretty easily.

Earlier, Sunil on his way to the final made an impressive comeback in the semi-final bout. He came back from 1-8 down to win the bout 12-8. This was an improvement for Sunil from his 2019 performance in the same tournament where he won a Silver Medal.

Sunil Kumar after the win said, “I am feeling happy to have earned India’s first Gold Medal today. I have worked really hard on my ground techniques and it feels good to have done better than my last year’s performance.”

Before Sunil’s historic gold medal win, Arjun Halakurki (55kg) won his Bronze Medal bout defeating Donghyeok Won of Korea. Arjun started the bout slowly and was down by 1-4 in the first period. But, Arjun didn’t give up and came back strongly snatching six straight points with a combination of good defence and attack. The final score at the end of the bout was 7-4 in favour of Arjun.

Though, India’s third medal hope Mehar Singh (130 kg) suffered a setback today as he lost his bout against Roman Kim of Kyrgyzstan by a narrow scoreline of 2-3. Mehar was majorly suffering the aftereffects of his wrist injury which he suffered in his semi-final bout earlier. The other Indian wrestlers who crashed out today were Mehar Singh, Sajan and Sachin Rana in different weight categories.

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