Youngsters shine on opening day of National Wrestling Championships

Jalandhar witnessed a day of riveting wrestling action.

By Sumedh Pande ·

Day one of the National Wrestling Championships, held in Jalandhar, saw all the events of men's freestyle category being contested. The gold medal winners from this event are set to be selected for the South Asian Games, which get underway in Nepal next month.

With the likes of Bajrang Punia, Deepak Punia, Ravi Dahiya and Rahul Aware opting out of the National Championships, the onus fell on the young Indian grapplers to test their mettle on the biggest national stage.

Gourav Baliyan became the new national champion in the 74kg category, with Ravinder clinched gold in the 61kg category.

Sumit Malik continued his dominance in the 125kg weight class while Amit Dahiya made a memorable comeback to the wrestling fore with a gold medal-winning performance in the 65kg category.

Baliyan and Ravinder impress

Plying his trade in the 74kg freestyle category, the one where Sushil Kumar is currently competing in, Gourav Baliyan has been touted by many as the one to watch out for.

To that end, the 19-year-old proved a point with a brilliant showing in the National Wrestling Championships. He beat Parveen Rana 5-3 in the final to grab first place at the Nationals.

Big things are also expected of Ravinder.

Winning a silver medal at the U-23 World Wrestling Championships and arriving at the Nationals as a favourite in the 61kg category, the grappler from Services was up against a tricky opponent in the form of Sonaba Tanaji in the final.

However, Ravinder displayed commendable defence in the first round and then upped the ante in the next rounds to complete a 12-2 win in the final.

A dream comeback for Amit Dahiya

2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Amit Dahiya was steadily making a name for himself to the wrestling world until the promising wrestler suffered a horrific knee injury in 2015.

Four years later, as Amit was set to make a comeback to the mat at the National Wrestling Championships, all eyes were fixed on the 25-year-old. Showing no signs of rustiness, he made his way to a brilliant gold medal finish in the 65 kg category.

Other notable results include Sumit Malik (125kg) winning the gold with a 5-0 win over Abhijit in the final bout. Satywart Kadian also grabbed a podium finish in the 97kg category, beating Kapil Chaudhary with a comfortable scoreline of 9-0. Both the Railways' grapplers will now be seen representing India at the South Asian Games next month.

What's next?

Day two of the National Wrestling Championships will see the crème de la crème of Indian women wrestlers in action.

The likes of Vinesh Phogat (55kg), Sakshi Malik (62kg) and Divya Kakran (68kg) will be seen fighting for top honours in Jalandhar.

Catch live streaming of the tournament on www.wrestlingtv.in.