Indian Greco-Roman wrestlers draw blank at Individual World Cup

In their first event since the Asian Championships in January, Indian Greco-Roman wrestlers found it tough to raise their game at the Individual World Cup.

By Naveen Peter ·

Indian Greco-Roman wrestlers drew a blank at the Individual World Cup in Belgrade, Serbia on Sunday.

A day after five of the eight wrestlers in the category fell short of going deep into the competition, the other three too followed suit with below-par shows at the Belgrade Fair.

While Rio Olympian Hardeep Singh (97kg category) and Naveen (130kg) bowed out in the opening rounds of their respective categories, Gyanendra Singh kept the Indian hopes alive for a while in the before losing out in the quarter-finals.

But up against Serbia’s Kristian Fris in the last-eight of the 60kg category, the Indian wrestler hardly had any time to settle in as Fris ran away with a fine 9-0 win on technical superiority.

Coming into the bout on the back of a quality show in the early rounds, Gyanendra Singh looked confident to challenge the Serb. While the two wrestlers measured each other’s moves in the initial phase, a penalty for passivity was all that took Kristian Fris to seal the match.

Managing a gut wrench on the restart, the Serb made the most of the advantage to lift his opponent off the ground and flip him over his shoulders for a four-point move twice. Add to that the point for passivity, the referee was quick to hand Kristian Fris the win.

Rio Olympian Hardeep Singh lost his opening-round bout on technical superiority.

Earlier, while Hardeep Singh was outclassed by a dominant show from Mohammadhadi Saravi of Iran, Naveen paid for his lack of initiative against Germany’s Eduard Popp.

In what was a typical super heavyweight bout, neither wrestlers were keen on pressing for the win. While Popp ensured that he stayed close to his opponent and kept a tight defence, Naveen found it hard to find a way to negotiate the German’s moves who used the mat well to keep the Indian guessing. 

Eventually, it came down to two passivity calls that went against the Indian wrestler, handing Eduard Popp the win.