Indian wrestlers endured a disappointing outing at the World Wrestling Championships 2022 in Belgrade, Serbia on Thursday as Nisha Dahiya fell short in her bronze medal match and three of the four men’s freestyle grapplers in action crashed out of medal contention.
Only Naveen Malik, who won the men’s 74kg at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham last month, remained in hunt for a podium finish by making the repechage rounds.
In the women’s 68kg, Nisha Dahiya was leading 4-2 against Canada’s Linda Morais, a former world champion in the 59kg and a CWG 2022 silver medallist in the 68kg division.
However, Nisha, an U-23 worlds bronze medallist, paid dearly for a mistake midway through as Morais converted a takedown into the pin and won the medal bout by fall.
Nisha Dahiya, on Wednesday, had beaten three wrestlers but lost to U20 world champion Ami Ishii of Japan in the semi-finals to make the medal round. Nisha’s failure to medal meant Vinesh Phogat’s bronze in the 53kg women’s category remains India’s only medal at the Belgrade meet.
The Indian men’s freestyle wrestlers, meanwhile, started their campaign on Wednesday with Naveen Malik (70kg), Deepak Mirka (79kg), Sanjeet Kundu (86kg) and Dinesh Dhankar (125kg) taking the mat.
Naveen Malik lost his qualifying round bout to l Taishi Narikuni of Japan, the Asian champion, by a 6-1 margin. But since the Japanese grappler made it to the final, Naveen earned himself a place in the repechage and remained in contention for a bronze medal in the 70kg.
Deepak Mirka, in the 79kg, won his opening bout by technical superiority against Israel’s Beat Dan Or Tsesarsky but Uzbekistan’s Bekzod Abdurakhmonov, the Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist in the 74kg, proved to0 much of a challenge for the youngster, who lost 13-2.
In the 86kg, Sanjeet Kundu lost to Georgia's Tarzan Maisuradze 4-4 on criteria to bow out from qualifying.
Dinesh convincingly beat Argentina's Catriel Muriel 11-4 in his opening bout but ended up being pinned by Georgia’s Geno Petriashvili, a two-time Olympic medallist.