Indian wrestler Ravinder beat Hungary’s Marcell Budai Kovacs, Russia’s Dinislam Takhtarov and European champion Arsen Harutyunan of Armenia to enter the final at the UWW Under-23 World Championships.
Ravinder opened India’s medal account at the UWW Under-23 World Championships with a silver medal in the men’s freestyle 61kg category in Budapest, Hungary, on October 30.
Ravinder went down 3-5 in a closely contested bout against Kyrgyzstan’s Ulukbek Zholdoshbekov. The 22-year-old had a 1-0 lead going into the second period of the bout after a cagey first three minutes of the final. In the second period, the Kyrgyzstan wrestler received medical attention halfway through and bounced back, taking a 4-1 lead with less than a minute to go.
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Ravinder closed the gap down to one, with mere seconds left on the clock but a desperate challenge from the Indian camp was unsuccessful, resulting in an additional point for the eventual champion.
Ravinder had notched up a 12-1 win over Hungary’s Marcell Budai Kovacs in his opening bout and then followed it up with an 11-0 demolition of Russia’s Dinislam Takhtarov in the quarterfinals. In the semifinal, he pinned senior European champion Arsen Harutyunan of Armenia to storm into the final.
The grappler from Sonipat, who won gold at the South Asian Games in 2016 and also a bronze at the Cadet Asian Championships in 2014, could have been the first Indian to win the gold medal at this newly formed event. The first edition of the tournament was held in 2017 in Poland, when Bajrang Punia and Ritu Phogat each won silvers in the 65kg and 48kg (women) categories, respectively.
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Earlier in the day, Jyoti fell short of reaching the final, going down to Japan’s Kika Kagata 15-4 in the semifinal bout. Jyoti entered the last four with a dominant 12-1 win over Moldova’s Maria Leorda in the women’s 50kg category but was bested in the semifinal by her Japanese opponent. The Indian had raced to a 4-0 lead but the Japanese grappler stormed back with 15 unanswered points to win the bout by technical superiority. She will now fight for bronze.
Despite the duo’s eye catching performances, the rest of the contingent has so far fallen short of expectations. Among the women, in 55kg, Rani Rana was blanked 6-0 by USA’s Dominique Olivia Parrish. In 59kg, Pooja Yadav’s campaign was cut short by top seed Tiana Grace Kennett, who dealt her a 6-2 blow. In the men’s 74kg, Gaurav Baliyan lost out on a medal after losing to Fazli Eryilmaz of Turkey 14-4 in the repechage.
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