Another day,another medal for the Indian wrestling contingent. After Amit Kumar’s silver in the 55kg category on Monday,it was the turn of 19-year-old Bajrang to bag a bronze in the 60kg freestyle category as he saw off Mongolia’s Nyam-Ochir Enkhsaikhan in the repechage play-off round. Bajrang’s medal,India’s second at the meet,has already made it the best-ever show by the men’s contingent.
But the day had started badly for the Indians and Bajrang as the Rohtak wrestler was summarily beaten by Bulgaria’s Vladimir Dubov in the first round,while the others in the fray,Pawan Kumar (84kg) and Hitender (120kg),had also exited early.
But with Dubov making the cut for the finals,Bajrang got a second chance through the repechage rounds and his luck turned for the better. Bajrang’s first round opponent in the repechage round,Shogo Maeda,conceded the bout due to an injury he had suffered at the hands of Dubov in the quarterfinals.
Up next was Ivan Guidea of Romania,who was soundly thrashed 10-3. Bajrang now faced Enkhsaikhan in the most important match of his young career in the the bronze-medal play-off. The bout finished 9-3 in Bajrang’s favour,despite the fact that the Mongolian had the early advantage after garnering two points for an early take-down in the first period.
Earlier,lack of experience had brought the downfall of Bajrang,who had won a bronze in his senior debut deputising for London bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt at the the Asian wrestling championships held in New Delhi in April. The 7-0 loss against Dubov had hurt.
Learning from mistakes
His posture was upright in the first bout; as a result he left his legs exposed and the Bulgarian made full use of the opportunities. Compared to him the Bulgarian was much more experienced. But it was good to know he learned his lesson and did not commit the same mistake again during the repechage rounds, coach Virender Singh told The Indian Express from Budapest. Once he was told to look at his posture,it was easy as you can see in the one-sided scores, he said.
Incidentally,this was the second time in a row that Bajrang has been able to win a medal after filling in for his mentor Yogeshwar.
While Bajrang was given a lifeline and was able to wrestle up a medal,Pawan and Hitender weren’t as lucky. Hitender was beaten 8-0 by Georgia’s Geno Petriashvili in a one-sided affair,while Pawan fought hard before losing 9-8 to China’s Feng Zhang. Twice he mounted a comeback in the bout. First,while trailing 4-0,he bagged three points for a take-down to make 4-3 and later in the second period he bagged three points to make it 9-8.
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