InsideSport Year-ender -Top 10 wrestling moments of 2020: It is that time of the year already. As we move closer to drawing curtains to the year 2020, which by general consensus, was a forgettable affair, sports did manage to conjure some lasting moments. From Bajrang Punia getting married to India’s best-ever performance at the Asian Championship, InsideSport in its latest series, bring you 10 biggest moments from wrestling.
—- Sunil Kumar ends India’s 27-year drought at Asian Championship
Sunil Kumar clinched the gold medal in 87kg in the Greco-Roman in Asian Wrestling Championships. With this, he ended India’s 27 year-long wait for gold in the tournament. The last time an Indian finished at top of the podium at the Asian meet, it was Pappu Yadav in 1993.
—- 18-year-old Sonam Malik beats Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik twice
One of the biggest upsets of the year. 18-year-old Sonam Malik had shocked the wrestling fans when she defeated Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik at national trials in January. Many believed it to be a fluke at first. However, the teenager repeated it the 2nd time in February at the national trials for Olympic qualifiers.
—- Narsingh Yadav makes comeback
One of the biggest names in Indian wrestling, Narsingh Yadav made a comeback to wrestling in December. The postponement of Tokyo Olympics was a disguise for him. It gave him an opportunity to make a timely return for the quadrennial sporting extravaganza after his 4-year ban.
—- India registers its best-ever Asian Championship performance
The Indian wrestling contingent wrapped up their Asian Wrestling Championships 2020 with twenty medals. It was India’s best-ever performance at the continental event.
—- Vinesh Phogat awarded Khel Ratna award
Finally, Vinesh Phogat was award the Khel Ratna award. 2018, was the world medallist’s break out year, after winning gold at Asian and Commonwealth Games. However, she missed out on the prestigious award in 2019. But in 2020, courtesy of her medal-winning performance at 2019 Nur-Sultan worlds, she was awarded India’s highest sporting honour.
—- Anshu wins medal at World Cup
Young Anshu Malik was the lone Indian woman wrestler to win a medal at the individual World Cup. She won silver medal in Belgrade, Serbia which was 3rd medal at the senior level.
—- Bajrang Punia gets married
Three-time world medallist Bajrang Punia tied knot to Sangeeta Phogat in November. Although a low-key wedding due to COVID-19 protocols, it was still the most-anticipated wedding of the year.
—- Rashidov suffers career-ending injury
Reigning world champion Rashidov (RUS) suffered an injury in his right leg during his opening-round match against three-time world champion Haji Aliyev. He was Bajrang Punia’s biggest challenger at the Tokyo Olympics.
—- Russia’s dominance at the World Cup
Russia made a triumphant return to the international wrestling stage with a dominant performance at the World Cup in Serbia. It bagged eight freestyle gold medals, finishing atop the freestyle team standings.
—- Iran’s champion wrestler Navid Afkari’s controversial hanging
Iran had controversially executed the champion wrestler despite pressure from international organisations to spare his life. Afkari was convicted of murdering a security guard during anti-regime protests in 2018. It was believed that he was wrongly framed for the crime.