India’s Sunil Kumar reaches the finals in the 87kg category on Day 1 of Senior Asian Wrestling Championship. Sunil Kumar on his way to the final registered a brilliant comeback victory over Azamat Kustubayev of Kazakhstan in the semi-final bout. Also Read - I am Working on Both Attack And Defence: Bajrang Punia Ahead of Tokyo Olympics
Kumar was down 1-8 in his semi-final bout at one stage but made a great comeback winning 11 points on the trot against to finish the bout at 12-8. In 2019 also Sunil made it to the finals and ended with his first silver medal. In the finals of 87kg, Rome Ranking Series silver medallist Sunil will play against Azat Salidinov from Kyrgyzstan. Also Read - Asian Wrestling C'ships: Jitender Kumar Settles For Silver on Final Day
“I have practised with the Azamat before and knew his weaknesses. Towards the end of the match, he was losing stamina and I was full of it. This worked in my favour,” Sunil said. “I had planned to exhaust my opponent first and then make the appropriate moves. I did make some mistakes in the beginning but relied on my stamina which helped me in winning the match.” Also Read - Asian Wrestling Championship: Ravi Kumar Dahiya Wins Gold in 57 Kg, Bajrang Punia Settles For Silver
Earlier in the day, Arjun Halakurki (55kg) lost his semi-final bout from a winning position to lose the bout 7-8 against Iran’s Pouya Mohammad Naserpour. Arjun will now be playing against up against Korea’s Donghyeok Won in the bronze medal playoff.
Mehar Singh also lost out his last four bout. Up against Minseok Kim of Korea, Mehar lost out tamely to the Korean by 1-9 margin. Mehar made it to the Indian team at the last minute. Just 3 days before the Asian Wrestling, India’s number one in 130 kg, Naveen pulled out of the event due to injury. Mehar replaced Naveen and won his opening bout against Daler Rakhmatov of Uzbekistan.
In the first qualification bout of the day, Sajan who was one of India’s big medal hopes lost in a disappointing manner. He was pitted against Under 23 Asian Champion of 2019 Renat Iliazuulu of Kyrgyzstan in the first round. The Indian wrestler could not match the initial onslaught of Iliazuulu and lost out 6-9.
Sachin Rana (63kg) faced a massive loss against Elmurat Tasmuradov by a margin of 8-0. He was then pitted against Yernur Fidakhmetov of Kazakhstan where he could not muster much of a challenge and went down 6-3 in his Repechage bout.