Asian Wrestling C'ship: Aditya, Ashu win bronze

Aditya Kundu finished off his Japanese opponent Nao Kusaka in double-quick time, wrapping up an 8-0 win by technical superiority

Ashu of India (blue) fights against Abdwlkarim Mohammad Alhasan of Syria during the 67 kg category bout in New Delhi on Wednesday.   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Having won his first two bouts comfortably, Aditya Kundu was favourite to become India’s second Greco-Roman finalist at the Senior Asian Wrestling Championship here on Wednesday.

That did not happen but a semifinal setback was not enough to keep him away from the podium, adding to the host’s medal tally with a bronze in the 72kg.

The 23-year old civil inspector from Chandigarh finished off his Japanese opponent Nao Kusaka in double-quick time, wrapping up an 8-0 win by technical superiority in under two minutes. “Winning a medal in this manner in my first Asian Championship feels great. It adds to the confidence level,” Kundu told Sportstar

Like most Indian wrestlers, Kundu is a late convert to Greco-Roman but unlike others who make the shift due to their inability to break through in Freestyle, Kundu’s was more out of compulsion. 

“I have golds and bronze at the University Games in Freestyle but a knee injury around a few years back meant I was unable to put too much strength in my legs and decided to shift to Greco-Roman. A gold at the Commonwealth Championship in 2017 convinced me I could do well and today’s win proves it was the right move,” he added. 

“My plan was to tire out my opponent and then attack him with my technique. I kept moving and holding him away and then went for the points, my plan worked perfectly,” he said.

Trained by his father Ranbir Singh at Gulzar Akhada in Zirakpur, Kundu is now hoping to drop down to 67kg and get a chance at the Olympic qualifiers — 72kg is not an Olympic category.

For that, however, he would have to contend with another youngster who also won bronze in the 67kg here – Ashu.

At 19 and in his first senior tournament, Ashu bettered Syrian Abdwlkarim Mohammad Alhasan 8-1. The native of Panchi Jatan village in Sonipat was confident of winning, having learnt from his semifinal defeat. 

“I was in too much hurry in the previous bout. This time I knew I had to defend myself well. Wrestlers at the senior level are more intelligent and you have to plan accordingly. It’s been a learning experience,” he added.

Hardeep completed the host’s medal tally for the second day with bronze in the 97kg as India finished the Greco-Roman competition with four bronze and one gold to be placed fourth on the table. Iran topped with 5 gold, 1 silver and 3 bronze.

The results (Greco-Roman):

60kg: 1. Kenichiro Fumita (JPN), 2. Zholaman Sharshenbekov (KGZ), 3. Islomjon Bakhramov (UZB) and Mehdi Seifollah Mohsen Nejad (IRI); 67kg: 1. Hansu Ryu (KOR), 2. Makhmud Bakhshilloev (UZB), 3. Ashu (IND) and Hosseini Nasrollah Assadi Kolmati (IRI); 72kg: 1. Amin Yavar Kaviyaninejad (IRI), 2. Ibragim Magomadov (KAZ), 3. Aditya Kundu (IND) and Ruslan Tsarev (KGZ); 82kg: 1. Mahdi Asgar Ebrahimi (IRI), 2. Junhyeong Choi (KOR), 3. Jalgasbay Berdimuratov (UZB); 97kg: 1. Mohammadhadi Abdollah Saravi (IRI), 2. Seyeol Lee (KOR), 3. Muhammadali Shamsiddinov (UZB) and Hardeep (IND).