Aware proves a point as Haryana wins opening match of PWL 2

Haryana began its campaign in the second season of the Pro Wrestling League (PWL) with a 4-3 win against defending champion Mumbai in the opening match of the competition here on Monday.

Mumbai's Rahul Aware with tea, captain and Rio Olympic gold medalist Erica Wiebe.   -  PTI

It was expected to be a grudge bout and it lived up to the billing with Sandeep Tomar and Rahul Aware going all out to prove their supremacy in the 57kg category but it was the Mumbai wrestler that came out trumps in the battle even as Haryana won the war, beginning its campaign in the second season of the Pro Wrestling League (PWL) with a 4-3 win against defending champion Mumbai in the opening match of the competition here on Monday.

With a long history of rivalry, Tomar and Aware attacked from the start. Tomar, who was part of the Indian squad at the Rio Olympics, took lead early on and went 3-0 ahead at the end of Round One even as Aware kept his defences up, content sizing up his opponent at the KD Jadhav Indoor Stadium.

He came back to turn the tables after the break, using his own version of fitle – popularised by Yogeshwar Dutt – to twist, turn and roll over Tomar repreatedly with disdain, picking up points at will to race to a 9-3 lead. It soon became 14-3 before Tomar managed to recover and earn a couple of consolation points in the last few seconds by pushing Aware out of the circle. The bout, though, was over long before.

The victory would have given Aware satisfaction after having repeatedly claimed bias by the Wrestling Federation of India for national representation but it did not help Mumbai much, having already lost four of the seven bouts to Haryana by then. Swedish former World and European champion Sofia Mattsson led the charge for the winner, overwhelming Lalita Sehrawat 6-2 by fall to wrap up the 53kg bout in just two and a half minutes in the first round itself, the quickest bout of the day.

Team captain and 2014 world champion Abdusalam Gadisov of Russia managed to down Ukrainian Pavlo Oliynyk 6-0 in the 97kg. Incidentally, the official tournament website listed Cuban Reineris Salas Perez in the Mumbai line-up before Pavlo walked out. Tunisia's Mawra Amri lost her contact lenses midway through her bout against Sarita in the 58kg but still managed to overpower her opponent 5-0 to further extend Haryana's lead.

Mumbai captain and Rio Olympic gold medalist Erica Wiebe was expected to have it easy against Kiran in the 75kg and though the Canadian took a minute to size up her opponent, thereafter it was a one-way street. Erica led 6-0 at the end of Round One and added 10 points more in the second round to seal the deal with a 16-0 scoreline.

In the 74kg, Mumbai's Azerbaijanian wrestler Jabrayil Hasanov led Sumit Sehrawat 3-0 at the end of Round One but then perhaps decided to end the bout early, racing to 9-0 20 seconds after resumption and finally knocking out Sehrawat by technical superiority 15-0 in three minutes 46 seconds. Haryana's Rajneesh beat Vikas 7-2 in the 65kg in the opening bout.