In a stunning performance, Sunil Kumar created history by becoming the first Indian ever to win a Greco Roman gold medal in Asian Wrestling Championship held at KD Jadav Stadium in Delhi on Tuesday.
Sunil, who had won a silver medal in the last edition, grappled down Azat Salidinov of Kyrgyzstan 5-0 in the 87kg summit bout to win India's first-ever gold medal in the championship's 27 years history. Earlier, Kumar was down 1-8 in his semifinal bout against his Kazakh opponent Azamat Kustubayev but made a great comeback, grabbing 11 points on the trot to win the bout at 12-8.
Earlier in the day, Arjun Halakurki (55kg) lost his semi-final bout from a winning position and went on to lose the bout 7-8 against Iran’s Pouya Mohammad Naserpour. Arjun will now be playing against up against Korea’s Donghyeok won in the bronze medal playoff.
Mehar Singh also lost out his last four bout. Up against Minseok Kim of Korea, Mehar lost out tamely to the Korean by 1-9 margin. Mehar made it to the Indian team at the last minute just 3 days before the Asian Wrestling, as India’s number one in 130 kg, Naveen pulled out of the event due to injury. Mehar replaced Naveen and won his opening bout against Daler Rakhmatov of Uzbekistan.
In the first qualification bout of the day, Sajan who was one of India’s big medal hopes lost in a disappointing manner. He was pitted against Under 23 Asian Champion of 2019 Renat Iliazuulu of Kyrgyzstan in the first round. The Indian wrestler could not match the initial onslaught of Iliazuulu and lost out 6-9. Sachin Rana (63kg) faced a massive loss against Elmurat Tasmuradov by a margin of 8-0. He was then pitted against Yernur Fidakhmetov of Kazakhstan where he could not muster much of a challenge and went down 6-3 in his Repechage bout.