Indian judo challenge ends at Grand Slam Hungary

India’s final two hopes in Avtar Singh, an Olympian, and Tulika Mann both lost their bouts in the second round.

By Rahul Venkat

India’s two remaining challengers Avtar Singh and Tulika Mann bowed out of the judo Grand Slam Hungary in Budapest early on Sunday.

After being given a bye in the first round, Rio 2016 Olympian Avtar Singh lost to 2018 European Championship bronze medallist and former world No. 2 Peter Paltchik of Israel in the men’s under-100 kg category.

World number 60 Avtar Singh was the first to blink, earning an early Shido penalty for a false attack. Paltchik looked the sharper of the two though as he swiftly went offensive and won a tactical waza-ari (half-point).

Paltchik was also successful in avoiding Avtar Singh’s attacks and soon had the Indian judoka pinned to earn his second waza-ari, which added up to an Ippon (full-point) and gave him a simple win.

However, Paltchik could not win Pool A in the under-100kg category as he lost to Belgium’s Toma Nikiforov. Nikiforov eventually went through to the under-100kg final as the winner of Pool A.

The second remaining Indian hope, Tulika Maan also fell to a 2018 European Championships bronze-medallist, Ukraine’s Yelyzaveta Kalanina in the women’s 78+ kg category.

World No. 59 Tukika Maan, who had a bye in the first round, was penalised two early Shidos for non-combativity. However, the Indian judoka held on for almost 10 minutes against Kalanina.

But the Ukrainian displayed better stamina towards the end, pinning Maan down to earn the waza-ari she needed to progress in Pool A of the 78+ kg category.

The long bout seemed to have taken a lot out of Kalanina though as she then fell in the final hurdle of Pool A to veteran two-time World Championships silver medallist Maria Suelen Altheman of Brazil.

On Friday, Likmabam Shushila Devi (48kg), Vijay Kumar Yadav (60kg) and Jasleen Singh Saini (66kg) were eliminated in the first round matches. The five Indian judokas in total were accompanied by coach Jiwan Sharma at the event.