Glasgow, July 30: Sushil Kumar led the charge as Indian wrestlers put on a stunning show in the Commonwealth Games winning three of the five gold medals on offer here on Tuesday.
Amit Kumar and teenager Vinesh Phogat also bagged gold medals while Rajeev Tomar settled for the silver medal in what was a successful outing on the first day of the wrestling competition at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC). The three gold medals also lifted India to fifth position in the medal’s standings.
The star of the day undoubtedly was two-time Olympic medallist Sushil, who just took 107 minutes to clinch the gold medal in the men’s 74kg freestyle category beating Pakistan’s Qamar Abbas in an one-sided affair.
It was Sushil’s first major international medal after his pet 66kg category was removed and he had to add nine kilograms to adjust in a new weight bracket. Sushil had won both his Olympic medals, bronze in Beijing and silver in London, 2010 World Championship gold, 2010 Asian Games gold and the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold in the 66kg category.
Sushil was leading 6-2 in the first period when referee V. Keelan decided to give it in favour of the Indian, who managed to pin down Abbas. Sushil was in dominating form in all his preliminary bouts. He opened his account with a facile 4-0 win over New Zealand’s Jayden Lawrence in the Round of 16 and then beat Sri Lanka’s Sandrage 4-0 in the quarter-final.
It was the third gold for India after Amit and Vinesh’s triumph in their respective categories.
Amit won the gold medal in the men’s freestyle 57kg category beating Nigerian Ebikweminomo Welson. Amit won the bout 3-1 on classification points. Amit won six points in the two periods while Welson got two. Amit had beaten Mauritian Jean Guliyan Bandoo 5-0 in the Round of 16 and then got the better of South African Bokang Masunyane 4-0 in the quarter-final. Amit booked his place in the final with an exciting 4-0 win over Pakistan’s Azhar Hussain in the semi-final.
Indian teenager Vinesh Phogat then made it a double delight as she registered a thrilling 11-8 win over England’s Yana Rattigan to clinch the gold medal in the women’s freestyle 48kg wrestling competition.
Vinesh, 19, is the cousin of Geeta Phogat, who had won the first gold medal for India in women’s wrestling in the 2010 Delhi Games. Vinesh had beaten Canadian Jasmine Mian in the semi-finals of the women’s 48kg freestyle category and Nigerian Rosemary Nweke in the quarter-finals.
The only relative disappointment for India was that of Tomar losing the men’s 125kg freestyle final match to Canada’s Korey Jarvis. In a close contest, Tomar lost 0-3 to Jarvis and settled for the silver. Tomar had defeated New Zealand’s Marcus Carney in the semi-final and Nigerian Sinivie Boltic in the quarters.
Another Indian in fray, Jyoti finished fourth in the women’s 75kg freestyle event. Since there were just five wrestlers, the competition was held according to the Nordic System or a round robin format.