World U20 Wrestling Championships 2022: India win four bronze medals; Mahendra Babasaheb Gaikwad reaches final

Mahendra Babasaheb Gaikwad will fight Iran’s Amirreza Fardin Masoumi Valadi for the gold medal on Wednesday.

By Ali Asgar Nalwala
Picture by 2016 Getty Images

Four Indian freestyle wrestlers won bronze medals while Mahendra Babasaheb Gaikwad stormed into the final of the men’s 125kg weight division at the World U20 Wrestling Championships 2022 in Sofia, Bulgaria on Tuesday.

Sujeet, who won gold at the seniors Zouhaier Sghaier Ranking Series in Tunisia last month, defeated Ukraine’s Mykyta Zubal in the men’s 65kg weight division via technical superiority to claim the bronze. 

Sujeet had won all three bouts till the quarter-finals without conceding a point but lost to Ziraddin Bayramov of Azerbaijan 6-2 in the semis.

Abhishek Dhaka, competing in the 57kg bracket, lost his quarter-final against Merey Bazarbayev of Kazakhstan 5-1 but fought through the repechage to clinch the bronze medal.

Abhishek Dhaka beat Andreas Parotsidis of Greece via technical superiority in the repechage and then overcame Ukraine’s Heorhii Kazanzhy 8-5 in a close fight for the bronze.

In the 70kg, Mulaym Yadav narrowly went down to lose 5-3 to eventual gold medallist Kanan Heybatov of Azerbaijan in the semi-finals but made a comeback to win bronze by defeating Georgia’s Gigi Kurkhuli via technical superiority.

Niraj, fighting in the 97kg, lost 8-1 to eventual gold medallist Benjamin Allen Kueter of the USA. Niraj, however, dominated Luka Khutchua of Georgia to win the bronze medal play-off 18-10. 

Mahendra Babasaheb Gaikwad, meanwhile, will take on Iran’s Amirreza Fardin Masoumi Valadi in the 125kg gold medal bout on Wednesday. Mahendra Babasaheb Gaikwad faced a strong challenge from Turkey’s Adil Misirci in the quarter-finals but managed to win the bout 6-4 to progress into the next round.

Mahendra Babasaheb Gaikwad then blanked Namoz Abdurashidov of Uzbekistan 6-0 to ensure at least a silver for India. Mohit Kumar (61kg) and Sagar Jaglan (74kg) will fight for bronze on Wednesday.

Deepak (79kg) and Jointy Kumar (85kg) were eliminated in the qualification rounds while Akash (92kg) lost in the round of 16.

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