Sunil Kumar pockets silver at Matteo Pellicone Memorial 

Indian grappler went down in the final of the 87kg Greco-Roman category, losing his bout 1-2 to Hungary’s Viktor Lorincz.

By Naveen Peter

Sunil Kumar won India’s only medal on the opening day of the season’s first ranking event - the Matteo Pellicone Memorial meet in Rome on Wednesday.

Competing in the 87kg Greco-Roman category, Sunil Kumar endured a close 1-2 loss at the hands of Viktor Lorincz of Hungary in the final to settle for a silver in the Italian capital.

Slow start for Sunil Kumar

Making it to his first final appearance at the senior level, the 22-year-old Sunil Kumar showed early signs of nerves as he held himself back and didn’t commit into attack allowing Lorincz to enjoy the upper hand in the exchanges.

The referee would soon deem Sunil Kumar’s intentions to be passive and penalised him for it, handing his opponent the opening point of the bout. But the Indian ensured that Lorincz didn’t take much of the advantage he gained once the bout resumed as he wriggled his way out of the Hungarian’s grasp soon. 

Later, when Sunil Kumar tried to force the issue, Lorincz, the silver medallist at the 2019 World Championships, showed his smartness and he pounced on opening to push the Indian out of bounds for another point.  

In the second round, while Sunil Kumar tried his best to gain supremacy over his experienced opponent, Lorincz ensured that he didn’t let the Indian have his way as he kept a tight check on his moves and barely ventured around for an opening.

Though Sunil Kumar was handed a point for passivity by Lorincz, that was the best he could muster from the tie as the Hungarian saw off the clock with relative ease to take home the gold medal.

Naveen, Hardeep bow out

Earlier in the day, Naveen and Hardeep Singh bowed out in the initial rounds of their competition at the Matteo Pellicone Memorial meet.

Competing in the 130kg Greco-Roman division, Naveen lost to China’s Lingzhe Meng of China 0-7 in the opening round while Hardeep Singh couldn’t get past G'Angelo Hancock of the USA, losing the tie 0-8.

Meanwhile, Sachin Rana and Ashu were no match for their respective opponents as they lost their bronze medal bout by an identical 0-9 margin.

Sachin Rana bowed out to Uzbekistan’s Firuz Tukhtaev in the 60kg Greco-Roman division while Ashu lost to Qiye Tian of China in the 67kg Greco-Roman category.


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