Indian Greco-Roman wrestlers suffer exit at World Championships 

No Indian managed to go beyond the opening bout in their respective weight categories on the first day at Nur-Sultan.

By Naveen Peter ·

India’s Greco-Roman wrestlers continued their struggle on the world stage as none in action on the opening day of the 2019 World Wrestling Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan could go past the initial round on Saturday.

Turning out in the non-Olympic categories, the likes of Harpreet Singh (82kg), Sagar (63kg), and Manjeet (55kg) failed to score, while Yogesh (72kg) put up a brave fight before losing out.

Glimmer of hope

Up against Raymond Anthony Bunker III of the USA, Yogesh showed some smartness in the second round to earn a few points and take a slender lead, but his opponent was quick to get back on top and win the bout 6-5.

It started with Yogesh being penalised for passivity. The American then made the most of the advantageous position to make it 3-0 with a gut wrench and then pushed the Indian out of bounds to take a 4-0 lead in the opening round.

However, post the interval, the Indian was quick to read Bunker’s moves and barely gave him any room to find an opening. The American was then penalised for passivity and Yogesh ensured he made the most of the situation to turn him around twice in a single hold and take a 5-4 lead.

That lead, however, didn’t last long as Bunker was quick to get back into the fight on the restart and drew parity by pushing Yogesh out. He went on to claim another point in a similar manner to take the lead.

Though Yogesh had over a minute to get back into the tie, the Indian failed to produce anything substantial and bowed out of the bout 5-6.

Disappointing show

While Yogesh put up a fight, the other Indians who took the mat in Nur-Sultan were thoroughly outplayed by their respective opponents.

Harpreet, the silver medallist at the Asian Wrestling Championships earlier this year, was no match for his Czech opponent Petr Novak in the 82kg category, losing the bout 7-0, Manjeet also failed to hold his ground against the reigning world champion Eldaniz Azizli of Azerbaijan. He lost the bout on technical superiority.

Azizli, however, won’t be defending his title on Sunday as he lost out to local favourite Khorlan Zhakansha in the semifinal.

Meanwhile, in the 63kg category, Sagar was on the mat for barely two minutes before being ousted by local hope Almat Kebispayev on technical superiority in the qualification round.

What’s next?

Sunday will also see three of India’s Greco-Roman wrestlers in action at the World Championships.

While Manish will face Bulgaria’s Deyvid Dimitrov in the 67kg category, Sunil Kumar will be up against Josef Rau of the USA in the 87kg category. Meanwhile, Ravi will take on Chinese Taipei’s Cheng Hao Chen in the 97kg category.