National Wrestling C’ship: Sushil Kumar wins gold after opponents' 'no show'

Sushil Kumar's return to action turned out to be a farcical affair as the two-time Olympic medallist rode on three walkovers, including in the semifinals and the final, to claim the 74kg freestyle gold medal on the second day of the National wrestling championship.

Sushil Kumar being greeted by the crowd after claiming the 74kg title in the National wrestling championship in Indore on Friday.   -  Y.B. Sarangi

Sushil Kumar's return to action turned out to be a farcical affair as the two-time Olympic medallist rode on three walkovers, including in the semifinals and the final, to claim the 74kg freestyle gold medal on the second day of the National wrestling championship at the Abhay Prashal Indoor Stadium here on Friday.

All the build-up for Sushil's comeback to competitive wrestling was reduced a damp squib as the former world champion fought for less than three minutes put together in two bouts. His first bout against Lalmalsawma of Mizoram lasted less than a minute and the second one against Mukul Mishra of Jharkhand one minute and 45 seconds. He won both the bouts by pinning his opponents to the mat.

Amidst unbelievable craze of the local crowd for the iconic wrestler, Sushil came to the mat for the following three bouts – against Praveen, Sahin Rathi and former Asian championship medallist 'Parveen Rana – and returned as the winner without any fight. Apparently, his opponents conceded the bouts due to 'respect' for the legendary wrestler.

"I am happy that my competitors have respect for me. But whenever I go on the mat, I go there to fight."

— Sushil Kumar


Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi Malik had a smooth journey to her 62kg title. She received a walkover from her fellow Railways competitor Apoorva and recorded comprehensive wins over other opponents, including her victory by fall over Pooja Tomar in the final.

World championship medalist Geeta Phogat also had a fine run. She showed her supremacy by getting the better of her opponents in quick time. The only challenge for Geeta came from Asian championship silver medallist Sarita in the semifinals.

Quick on her feet, Sarita twice effected take-downs and lead 4-1 after the first round. However, the never-say-die Geeta seized an opportunity to narrow the gap and relied on some fine counter-attacks to post a 7-4 win.

In the final, Geeta defeated Ravita by fall in a little over two minutes.

The loss of former World championship medallist Amit Kumar (57kg), Olympian Sandeep Yomar (57kg), international Rahul Mann (65kg) and Commonwealth Games medallist Navjot Kaur (68kg female), who lost to the promising Divya Kakran in the semifinals, were the major upsets of the day.

Manish (60kg, Haryana), Aditya Kundu (72kg, Punjab), Harpreet Singh (82kg, Punjab), Sunil Kumar (87kg, Haryana) and Hardeep (97kg, Railways) took the gold medals in Greco Roman competitions late on Thursday night.

Results:

Freestyle: Men:
57kg: 1. Utkrash Kale (RSPB), 2. Ravi Kumar (Del), 3. Amit Kumar (Har), Mayank (UP)
65kg: 1. Sonu (SSCB), 2. Praveen (Har), 3. Surjeet (Raj), Karan (Del)
74kg: 1. Sushil Kumar (RSPB), 2. Praveen Rana (RSPB), 3. Praveen (Har), Balraj (Del)
86kg: 1. Pawan Kumar (RSPB), 2. Deepak (RSPB), 3. Surajvir (Pun), Deepak Punia (Har).
 

Women:

53kg: 1. Seema (RSPB), 2. Pinki (Har), 3. Priyanka (Har), Diksha Tomar (UP)
57kg: 1. Pooja Dhanda (Har), 2. Sangeeta (Har), 3. Rani Rana (MP), Indu Tomar (UP)
59kg: 1. Geeta Phogat (Har), 2. Ravita (Har), 3. Sakshi (UP), Sarita (RSPB)
62kg: 1. Sakshi Malik (RSPB), 2. Pooja Tomar (UP), 3. Pooja (Har), Manju (Har)
65kg: 1. Ritu Malik (RSPB), 2. Gargi Yadav (RSPB), 3. Shilpi Sheron (Har), Ishika Tomar (UP)
68kg: 1. Divya Kakran (UP), 2. Monia (Har), 3. Kusum (Har), Pinki (RSPB)
72kg: 1. Kiran (RSPB), 2. Manu Tomar (UP), 3. Naina (Har), Kamini (Har)
76kg: 1. Pooja (Har), 2. Kavita (RSPB), 3. Jyoti (Del), Rani (HP)