Indian Greco-Roman wrestlers return empty-handed from Asian meet

Ten Indian Greco-Roman wrestlers competed at the Asian Wrestling Championships over two days. Only three made the bronze medal bout in Almaty.

By Naveen Peter

For the first time since 2015, the Indian Greco-Roman wrestling team will return home empty-handed from the Asian Wrestling Championships after none of the 10 wrestlers competing managed to win a medal in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Participating in all the 10 weight divisions at the Baluan Sholak Palace of Culture and Sports, five grapplers bowed out of contention on the opening day, while the others came up short in their respective bouts on Wednesday.

Competing in the 67kg category, Ashu was the only Indian wrestler to make the medal round on the second day.

Up against Hossein Nasrollah Assadi Kolmati of Iran in the bronze medal bout, Ashu was caught wanting as the Iranian ran away with the tie inside the opening round. 

Kolmati wasted no time in getting hold of Ashu, who had beaten the Iranian for the bronze last year, with a tight upper body grip and pulled off a superplex to open his account with four points. Kolmati then rolled Ashu over for a few more before pinning him down to exact a fitting revenge.

Earlier, while Gyanender made it to the quarter-finals of the 60kg weight division before bowing out to Iraq’s Karrar Albeedhan 12-3, Kuldeep Malik (72kg) and Ravi (97kg) were ousted in the opening rounds of their respective categories. 

In the 82kg category, Harpreet Singh couldn’t complete his round-robin assignments as he got injured after two bouts.

India’s run in Greco-Roman wrestling has been sketchy for a while with Sunil Kumar becoming the first Indian to win an Asian title for the first time in 27 years last year.

Women’s wrestling gets underway on Thursday with bouts in the 50, 55, 59, 68, 76kg weight divisions. 

For India, Seema (50kg), Pinki (55kg), Sarita Mor (59kg), Nisha Dahiya (68kg) and Pooja Sihag (76kg) will take the mat at the Asian Wrestling Championships.