Indian Greco-Roman wrestlers endured a difficult time on the opening day of the Individual World Cup with all five grapplers bowing out in the qualifying rounds of the competition on Saturday.
Competing in the 67kg category, Ashu was the only Indian wrestler to really make an impression as he rallied in a fine manner to win his opening round against Turkey’s Atakan Yuksel before falling short in the quarter-final.
Up against Kyrgyzstan’s Khalmurat Ibragimov in the quarter-finals, the Ashu was made to pay for his lack of experience at the international stage as it took just over 30 seconds for Ibragimov to record an 8-0 win on technical superiority.
Meanwhile, Arjun Halakurki too paid the price for his lapse in concentration in the quarter-finals of the 55kg category.
Making his way into the last eight following a walkover in the opening round at the Belgrade Fair, Arjun Halakurki was up against Balbai Dordokov of Kyrgyzstan.
Halakurki started well and grabbed a five-point lead in the opening minute. But he found it hard to maintain the advantage as Dordokov crawled back into the tie to take the game away from him soon.
In his attempt to build on the lead, Halakurki -- a bronze medallist at the 2020 Asian Wrestling Championships - went for a gut wrench midway through the opening round. While the Indian wrestler failed to get a grip around his opponent’s waist, the move saw Dordokov capitalise on the opening and inflict a takedown for four points.
The Kyrzgstani made the most of the move to flip Halakurki over his head for another four points as the wrestlers went into the break with Dordokov enjoying a comfortable 10-5 lead.
In the second, Dordokov worked on his defence and stayed close to his opponent’s body, barely allowing Halakurk any room to conjure a move to seal the match.
Sunil Kumar bows out
Earlier, Asian champion Sunil Kumar too fell short of making an impression at the Individual World Cup as he lost out to Italy’s Fabio Parisi in the 87kg category on technical superiority.
In a bout that lasted for 55 seconds, the Italian was all over Sunil Kumar from the start. He began by dropping his shoulder and turning the Indian wrestler over to open his account with four points.
Parisi continued the move with a rollover and later produced a similar takedown to win his opening round 10-0.
In the 77kg division, Sajan faced a similar fate as Belarus’ Pavel Liakh wasted no time in wrapping up the opening-round bout with a convincing 9-0 win on technical superiority.
While Sajan looked determined in the opening exchanges, he was soon penalised for passivity and the Belarusian ensured that he made the Indian pay.
Managing a gut wrench on the restart, Liakh rolled the Indian over to extend his lead and then produced a fine flip over his head to put the result to bed.
Aditya Kundu, meanwhile, was forced to forfeit his bout at the Individual World Cup after failing to meet the weight criteria ahead of his first-round match.