Sunil Kumar defeats Azat Salidinov of Kyrgyzstan 5 – 0 in the 87 kg summit bout and Sunil Kumar Wins India’s First Greco-Roman Gold. It is India its first Greco – Roman gold in Asian Wrestling Championship in 27 years.
On Tuesday, Sunil Kumar overpowered Azat Salidinov of Kyrgyzstan ending India’s 27 years of Gold medal drought.
Before Kumar, Pappu Yadav had won the 48 kg Greco – Roman title in 1993. With his comprehensive defense, Kumar was able to keep Salidinov at bay for the most part of the bout. Salidinov had no answer for India’s strategy and lost very easily.
Details on Sunil Kumar Wins India’s First Greco-Roman Gold
Earlier, Kumar had made an impressive comeback in the semi-final bout to qualify to the finals. In the semi-finals, Kumar was down against his Kazakh opponent Azamat Kustubayev but grabbed 11 points making a great comeback on the trot to win the bout 12 – 8.
In 2019, Kumar had made to the finals but ended up with silver.
What Sunil Kumar said?
Kumar later 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 Kumar’s historic win, Arjun Halakurki ( 55 kg ) won bronze by defeating Donghyeok Won of Korea 7-4.
Halakurki started the bout slowly and in the first period was down 1 – 4. But, he did not give up and came back strongly, snatching six straight points with a combination of good defence and attack.
Arjun lost the semi – final bout against Iran’s Pouya Mohammad Naserpour earlier in the day.
The third medal hope of India was Mehar Singh ( 130 kg ). Singh however lost his bronze medal narrowly in a bout against Roman Kim of Kyrgyzstan 2-3.
Singh was feeling the after-effects of his wrist injury that he suffered in the semi-final bout.
Singh went down 1 – 9 to Minseok Kim of Korea in the semi-finals. Singh had made to the Indian team at the last minutes.
Just three days before the tournament, Naveen, India’s number one in the 130 kg pulled out of the event due to an injury.
Singh replaced Naveen and won his opening bout against Daler Rakhmatov of Uzbekistan.
Sajan, who was one of India’s big medal hopes lost in a disappointing manner in the first qualification bout of the day.