India make clean sweep in Greco-Roman wrestling

NEW DELHI: Indian wrestlers on Tuesday produced a clinical display on the mat and made a clean sweep in the men’s Greco-Roman style with Ravinder Singh, Sanjay and Anil Kumar clinching gold in their respective categories at the Commonwealth Games.

Young Ravinder started the gold rush for India, bagging the first yellow metal in wrestling in the 60kg category, beating England’s Christopher Terence Bosson 7-2 in front of the sparse but cheering crowd at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex.

Sanjay followed his compatriot’s footsteps and got the better of South Africa’s Brian Richard Addinall 2-0 in the 74kg category.

And then Anil made it three out of three for host country when he defeated Hassene Fkiri of Australia 6-0 in the summit clash of the 96kg to round off an excellent day in office for Indian grapplers.

But it all started with young Ravinder’s gold. He was a picture of concentration against his English opponent as inspite of finding himself in difficult situations twice in the bout, he stood firm and came out with flying colours.

After some initial exchanges, Ravinder scored two quick points to end the opening round with a 2-0 lead.

But the real show of his character came in the second round when he found himself twice in a disadvantageous position but displayed sound technical acumen to pocket the encounter.

Right from the start, Ravinder was in his elements as he spanked Sri Lanka’s ASSD Kumara 13-0 in his opening bout and then outclassed Nigerian Romeo Joseph 8-0 in the semifinals.

While Bosson had to be satisfied with silver in the 60kg division, the bronze went to Romeso James of Nigeria.

Just after Ravinder’s feat, Sanjay gave the home fans more reasons to celebrate after beating South Africa’s Brian Richard Addinall in the 74kg final to register India’s second consecutive gold medal in wrestling.

Sanjay displayed a gritty performance and defeated his English opponent 2-0.

Against Addinall, Sanjay adopted a wait and watch policy and scored points whenever he got an opportunity. The Indian scored a point each in both the rounds to pocket his first Commonwealth Games gold.

Sanjay got the better of Samoa’s Laupule Ekeroma 3-0 and Perefegha Kiribein of Nigeria 2-0 in his earlier two bouts.

If that was not enough, veteran Anil Kumar made it three out of three for India when he outclassed Australia’s Hassene Fkiri in the final to win the gold in the 96kg.

Anil was by far the better wrestler on display and kept his calm to beat his Australian rival 6-0 in the aggressive title decider.

South Africa’s Hugues Kakoma Bella-Lufu earned the silver in this category after Fkiri was stripped off the silver medal for indecent behaviour.

In the final bout against Sanjay, Fkiri was cautioned thrice by the umpire for dangerous play.

The Australian repeated the mistake again, forcing the umpire to disqualify him and asked to leave the mat. But while leaving Fkiri showed middle finger to his opponent and the judges which eventually cost him his silver medal.

Canada’s Eric Feunekes, who lost to Hugues Kakoma in the bronze medal play-off bout, was awarded the bronze medal in Fkiri’s place.

Earlier, Anil had a contrasting opening two bouts as he overpowered Mark Montogomery of Northern Ireland 13-0 in his first match of the day but later had to work hard to clinch a 3-1 victory over South African Hugues Kakoma in the semifinal.

These wrestlers who are undoubtable poverty stricken have achieved outstanding success given the limited resources available. Congratulations

Wrestling is a great martial art. It is a great test of all the ingredients which make up the best sports - speed, strength, technique, tactics, courage, endurance etc.

Congrats to the Indian wrestlers.