Ravinder emerged as the shining star for India on the second day of the UWW U-23 World Championships after securing his place in the semi-finals of 61kg category here on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old put up a commanding display to notch up a 12-1 win over Hungary’s Marcell Budai Kovacs in his opening bout. The Jhajjar grappler then continued his heroics against 2019 Russian National Freestyle Wrestling Championships bronze medallist Dinislam Takhtarov and completed an 11-0 win to storm into the last-four round.
Ravinder is aiming for his first medal from the championship after losing in the semi-finals in 2017. Earlier in the day, Naveen lost his repechage bout in the 70kg category against Mongolia’s Temuulen Enkhtuya, who beat him 8-6. But the biggest disappointment of the day for the Indian squad was Viky in 92kg.
Having won the silver at the Senior Asian Wrestling Championships and a bronze at the Junior World Championships this year, a lot was expected of him but he crashed out in the opening round, losing to Switzerland’s Samuel Scherrer 7-1.
In 74kg, Gaurav Baliyan made a fantastic start against Oleksandr Vyshniak of Ukraine in the qualifiers, whom he blanked 11-0. His challenge, however, came to an end at the hands of Russia’s Razambek Zhamalov.
Sanjeet then could not get past Russia’s Azamat Zakuev, falling 0-6 in the qualifying bout in 86kg. Aryan Pratap fought hard in 125kg but was eventually shown the door in a 3-4 loss to top seed Hovhannes Maghakyan of Armenia.
Veer Dev Gulia, however, secured his place in the bronze medal contest in 79kg. Gulia was in top form as he defeated Hungary’s Botond Lukacs 3-1. With a strong 7-2 win over China’s Ligan Chai, he made it to the quarter-finals, where he was highly impressive in his 12-1 demolition of Mongolia’s Batzul Damjin on Monday night.
In the semi-finals, the 22-year-old’s brilliant run came to an end at the hands of Azerbaijan’s Abubakr Abakarov, who emerged an 8-1 winner. Gulia will now aim for the bronze late tonight. On the first day of the championships, three Indians had made it to the quarter-finals with the others being Sharvan (65kg) and Akash Antil (97kg), besides Gulia.
2017 Junior Asian Championship gold medallist Sharvan, who was seeded second in his category, showed his attacking intent against the top seed Rifat Saibotalov of Kazakhstan to secure a tight 8-6 victory.
In the quarters, however, he was defeated 6-10 by France’s Ilman Mukhtarov but with the Frenchman failing to make it to the final, the Indian could not make it to repechage. In 97kg, ninth seed Akash Antil dismantled China’s Li Xu 10-0 to start his campaign. In the last-eight, Ukraine’s Danylo Stasiuk inflicted a 9-5 defeat on him to dash his medal hopes.