Sunil Kumar on Tuesday overpowered Azat Salidinov of Kyrgyzstan 5-0 in the 87kg summit bout to win India’s first Greco-Roman gold medal in Asian Wrestling Championships in 27 years. Sunil now becomes only the third Indian ever to achieve this feat after Pappu Yadav. Also Read - Chinese Envoy Ensures Support To India As Sonu Sood Accuses China of Blocking Oxygen Concentrators Order
With his comprehensive defence, Sunil 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. Also Read - Nepal Shuts 22 Border Points With India Amid COVID Surge, 13 Other Entry Points To Remain Open
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. Also Read - Amid COVID Surge, US to Restrict Travel From India Starting May 4
“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,” Sunil Kumar said after the match.
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.