That form is temporary and class is permanent is what India’s wrestling legend Yogeshwar Dutt emphasized while speaking about double Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar’s chances in 74kg as he returned to the UWW World Senior Wrestling Championships after a gap of eight years.
The 2010 world champion, who is eyeing a fourth Olympic berth, has found strong backing from his former colleague Yogeshwar Dutt, who believes Sushil’s vast experience will be his forte.
“Sushil Pehelwan Ji is one of the most experienced wrestlers right now. He has won 2 Olympic medals and one World Championship gold medal, that itself speaks a lot about him. His experience will help him a lot in this World Championship,” said Dutt.
Dutt, who won the 60kg bronze in 2012 London Olympics where Sushil won the 66kg silver, counts Sushil among his medal favourites as he singled out the names who could create history for India this time.
“I’ve a lot of expectations from our wrestlers especially Bajrang, Sushil, Sakshi and Vinesh. Over the past few years, our performance has been really good. We’ve won medals in different tournaments through the year and I have high hopes,” he said.
“This World Championship is a great chance for us to win maximum Olympic quotas,” he added. “The entire team has worked really hard and if they finish in the top 6 and get Olympic quotas, they’ll get ample time to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics and work on their shortcomings with a free mind, Yogeshwar added.
Indian wrestlers look to improve on Day 2
None of the Indian Greco-Roman wrestlers in action on the first day of the championships won a round. Asian Championship silver medallist Harpreet Singh (82kg), Sagar (63kg), and Manjeet (55kg) went down in their opening bouts without registering a single point whereas Yogesh (72kg) gave his all before suffering a narrow defeat.
Harpreet was expected to put up stiff resistance against the Czech Republic’s Petr Novak but was beaten by a huge 0-7 margin. Yogesh was the best performer from the Indian contingent but his lack of patience towards the end of his bout with Raymond Anthony Bunker III cost him dearly and it resulted in his 5-6 defeat.
Despite their losses, Sagar and Manjeet had chances to progress to the repechage round as their respective conquerors, Almat Kebispayev and Eldaniz Azizli made it to the semi-finals. But with both of them getting knocked out in the semis, all hopes were dashed for the Indian grapplers.
On Day 2 of the World Championships, Indian wrestlers will look to put up a better show with a the pre-quarters line up as the action continues in Greco-Roman category. In 67kg, Manish will take the mat against Bulgaria’s Deyvid Dimitrov in the Round of 32.
Sunil Kumar (87kg), who won a silver medal at the Asian Championships in April, will look to continue his good form against USA’s Josef Patrick Rau while Ravi Kumar will meet Taipei’s Cheng Hao Chen in 97kg.
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