Matteo Pellicone wrestling: Neeraj, Naveen and Arjun Halakurki win Greco-Roman bronze

Last year’s 87kg silver medallist at the Matteo Pellicone, Sunil Kumar couldn’t go beyond the qualification round.

By Ubaid Parkar

Three Indian wrestlers -- Arjun Halakurki (55kg), Neeraj (63kg) and Naveen (130kg) -- managed to win a bronze medal each in the Greco-Roman discipline at the Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series event in Rome on Thursday.

Last year’s 87kg silver medallist, Sunil Kumar, however, lost to Russia’s Bekkhan Ozdoev by technical superiority in his qualification round. The match lasted less than two minutes.

In the 130kg, Naveen beat Samuele Varicelli of Italy in the quarter-final but lost 3-1 to Rio 2016 Olympian Abdellatif Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed of Egypt in the semis. Naveen, however, got the better of Czech Republic’s Stepan David in the bronze medal match.

In the 63kg, Neeraj lost 4-1 to Sultan Assetuly of Kazakhstan in the quarter-finals. However, as Sultan Assetuly proceeded to the final, it allowed Neeraj to compete in the repechage round. The Kazakh grappler won a silver.

Neeraj made the most of the opportunity and beat Russia's Aleksei Tadykin 7-3 in the repechage and then defeated Samuel Lee Jones of the USA 6-4 in the bronze medal match.

In the 55kg category, national champion Arjun Halakurki lost to Khorlan Zhakansha of Kazakhstan and Viktor Vedernikov of Russia but won against Andre Ricardo Cardoso Oliveira Silva from Portugal. All results were decided on the basis of technical superiority. He finished third in the group of four wrestlers to end up with a bronze medal.

In other results, Manish, national champion in 2017, lost to two-time Asian championship medallist Ildar Hafizov of the USA by technical superiority in the 60kg quarter-final.

In the 67kg, Gaurav Duhoon beat Steve Momilia of Italy but lost to Mate Krasznai of Hungary in the quarters. He then lost to Murat Firat of Turkey in the repechage round.

Daniel Collett Miller of the USA nipped Deepanshu’s hopes in the 97kg, defeating the Indian wrestler 2-1 in the qualification round.

On Friday, Greco-Roman wrestlers in the 72, 77 and 82kg will take to the mat. Women’s wrestlers in the 57, 62, 68 and 76kg categories will also be in action.

The Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series event in Rome runs from March 4 to March 7.