Three Indian grapplers, including Olympic bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt, qualified for the finals in their respective weight categories to ensure at least three silver for India on the third and final day of the wrestling competition in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on Thursday.
Yogeshwar (men’s 65kg freestyle), Geetika Jhakar (women’s 63kg) and Babita Kumari (women’s 55kg) made the finals, while Pawan Kumar (men’s 86kg) will fight for the bronze medal.
Yogeshwar used his trademark ‘fitele’ (leg-twisting) technique to great effect in all his three bouts of the day so far in the men’s 65kg category.
First, he beat Alex Gladkov of Scotland 4-0 as he rolled over the mat a few times by grabbing both the legs of his opponent to win the bout in style.
Yogeshwar then easily defeated another Scottish wrestler Gareth Jones in the quarterfinals by employing the same technique he had used while winning bronze in London Olympics.
The Indian pressed his hand on Jone’s head, positioned himself at the side of his opponent and pinned him down on the mat in a flash. He then clutched both the legs of his opponent before twisting and rolling himself over and over to get the necessary points and end the contest in one minute and 40 seconds.
In the semifinals, Yogeshwar’s Sri Lankan opponent Chamara Perera seemed to know the Indian’s trademark technique and once during the bout he managed to slip out of the grip of his opponent, who was trying to twist his legs.
Yogeshwar, however, was smart enough and he did not allow the Sri Lankan to escape the next time as he successfully used his favourite technique again to end the contest in two minute and three seconds.
Yogeshwar won with a 0-5 verdict after taking a 10-0 lead on technical points.
Coach Vinod Kumar later said he was happy about Yogeshwar making good use of his techniques.
“The ‘fitele’ technique had won him a bronze in 2012 London Olympics. There is another technique ‘kheme’ and with that you can turn around your body and get yourself over your opponent.
Then he (Yogeshwar) used the ‘fitele’,” he said.
Geetika was trailing initially in her 63kg freestyle opening bout against Epanga Metala of Cameroon but she came back strongly to beat her opponent 5-0 in two minutes and 45 seconds.
In the semifinals against Sarah Connolly of Wales, Geetika took the early advantage and she threw her opponent out of the mat twice. The Indian led 9-2 in the first period of three minutes and then the referee stopped the bout after Geetika was ahead 12-2.
Geetika won the bout 4-1 to book a place in the final.
Babita Kumari, meanwhile, met a tougher opponent in her 55kg quarterfinal bout against host country’s Kathryn Marsh before finally emerging victorious 4-1.
Babita was then up against Louisa Porogovska of England in the semifinals and she had an easy outing, winning her bout in a victory by fall verdict to make it to the gold-medal round.
Pawan also seemed to be going strong to make it to the finals but he lost his semifinal bout. Pawan took exactly two minutes to overpower Steve Hill of New Zealand 4-0 in his first bout of the day to enter the quarterfinals.
The referee stopped the contest after he led 10-0 on technical points.
The Indian then overpowered Luigi Bianco of Scotland 5-0 in a victory by fall verdict in just one minute and 16 seconds to book a place in the semifinals.
Pawan was, however, no match to Tamerlan Tagziev of Canada in the semifinals and the Indian lost in a victory by fall verdict in two minutes and 35 minutes.
He had won gold in 2013 Commonwealth Championships in Johannesburg in 84kg freestyle.