Indian Greco-Roman wrestlers Ashu and Deepanshu stayed in the hunt for the bronze medal after making it to the repechage rounds in their respective weight divisions at the World Wrestling Championships 2022 in Belgrade, Serbia on Sunday.
Ashu, an Asian championships bronze medallist, was blanked by last year’s European champion Mate Nemes of Serbia 9-0 in the 67kg qualifiers. With Mate Nemes making it to Monday’s final, the Indian qualified for the repechage.
However, Ashu’s path to bronze will be difficult as he will be up against the reigning European champion and world No. 3 Murat Firat of Turkey on Monday in the repechage. Murat Firat was upstaged by Nemes in the round of 16.
Deepanshu, who won bronze at the under-23 Asian championships earlier this year, made a bright start in his 97kg campaign by getting the better of Asian silver medallist Seyeol Lee of South Korea 3-1 in the qualification.
In the main round, the Indian grappler lost to world championships silver medallist Kiril Milenov Milov of Bulgaria via technical superiority (9-1). Deepanshu will take on Nikoloz Kakhelashvili, a European silver medallist, in the repechage on Monday.
The other two Indian wrestlers competing on the day crashed out early. Asian championships silver-medallist Harpreet Singh suffered a narrow 3-1 loss to Ukraine’s Yaroslav Filchakov in 82kg in the round of 16.
Neeraj, competing in the 63kg, started from the qualifiers and blanked Samuel Lee Jones of the USA 4-0. Neeraj, however, ran into Tokyo 2020 champion Luis Alberto Orta Sanchez of Cuba and was handed a 9-0 defeat via technical superiority.
The Cuban wrestler then lost to world No. 2 Taleh Mammadov Azerbaijan in the quarter-finals which ended Neeraj’s campaign at the world championships.
Apart from Ashu and Deepanshu’s repechage bouts, India’s Greco-Roman wrestlers Gyanender (60kg) and Satish (130kg) will be in action on Monday. Indian women’s wrestlers Sushma Shokeen (55kg) and Tokyo Olympian Sonam Malik (62kg) will also begin their campaigns.