Star grappler Yogeshwar Dutt led India’s impressive show on the wrestling mat where they grabbed four medals, including two gold, on the concluding day of the competition at the Commonwealth Games on Thursday.
After a gold drought on Wednesday, India won two gold medals, a silver and bronze on the final day of the competition.
Yogeshwar and Babita Kumari won a gold each in men’s 65kg and women’s 55kg while Geetika Jhakar bagged a silver in women’s 63kg.
Pawan Kumar then bagged a bronze in men’s 86kg at the SECC.
India had scooped three gold on the opening day of the competition and then endured a tough day on Wednesday when four grapplers lost in the finals.
With Thursday’s tally, India ended the event with five gold, six silver and a couple of bronze medals.
Yogeshwar used his trademark ‘fitele’ (leg-twisting) technique to great effect in all the four bouts he fought. In the final against Jevon Balfour of Canada, Yogeshwar was at his best as he did not allow his opponent any chance to attack him.
As soon as the bout began, Yogeshwar pounced on his opponent and got a chance to employ his leg-twisting technique but the Canadian resisted and the referee blew his whistle.
Yogeshwar got just two technical points from that but the Indian soon got a chance to go for the kill and he did let that opportunity go waste.
The Indian pinned down his opponent after a brief lull and grabbed the legs of the Canadian and rolled himself over and over again on the mat before the referee stopped the bout after the London Olympics bronze medallist had taken a 10-0 technical point lead.
Yogeshwar won the bout 4-0 on points.
His victory triggered a wild celebration by the packed crowd with spectators waving the tri-colour in the presence of top Indian officials and double Olympic medallist wrestler Sushil Kumar.
“I was expecting a tough fight from the Canadian but it was my day. I came well-prepared and I am happy to be part of a spectacular show by the Indian wrestlers. These are great days for Indian wrestling,” said Yogeshwar.
“The 2016 Rio Olympics is the ultimate target and we are on right track. All the wrestlers including me and Sushil Kumar are doing well at the moment. I hope we do well in the Asian Games and then the Olympics,” he added.
In his first bout of the day, Yogeshwar 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 battle in style.
Then he easily defeated another Scottish wrestler Gareth Jones in the quarterfinals.
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 most preferred technique and once he was able to outsmart 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 and got his grip to use his favourite technique again to end the contest in two minute and three seconds.
The Indian won in a 0-5 verdict after taking a 10-0 lead on technical points.
Babita gave the day’s first gold for India by defeating Babita Brittanee Laverdure of Canada in a dominant display.
She led 5-0 after the first period of three minutes and then consolidated her position to win the final.
“I have been working hard with the sole aim to win gold. I won a silver in 2010 Delhi CWG in 51kg and I was determined to win the gold this time,” said Babita.
She grabbed the gold in the category which was won by her elder sister Geeta Phogat at the Delhi Games four years ago.
Babita said her feat today compensated for the absence of her sister who missed the Games due to injury.
“I spoke to Geeta just before the bout and she said I should come back with a gold. I have fulfilled her wish and my family’s wish,” she said.
She said she had come prepared for the final bout.
“I have played against her (opponent) in Mongolia last year and I had beaten her. So I know her technique and how to fight against her,” said Babita, who led 9-2 on technical points at the end of the bout.
Babita had begun the day against Scotland’s Kathryn Marsh whom she beat 4-1 before easily defeating Louisa Porogovska of England in the semifinals in a victory by fall verdict.
Another Indian Geetika was trailing initially in her 63kg freestyle opening bout against Epanga Metala of Cameroon before 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 ealy 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.
But in the final, Geetika failed to match the superiority of Danielle Lappage of Canada and lost the bout 0-3 and ended up with a silver.
Pawan lost in the semifinals against Tamerlan Tagziev of Canada in the semifinals but got the better of Muhammad Inam in the bronze medal match in the men’s 86kg freestyle.