Amit Kumar (55kg) and Yogeshwar Dutt (60kg) have become the first wrestlers from India to qualify for the London Olympics.
Amit and Yogeshwar earned their right to fight in the Olympics when they reached the finals of their respective freestyle weight categories on the opening day of the Asian qualifying event in Astana, Kazakhstan, on Friday.
However, Olympic bronze medallist Sushil Kumar failed to make the cut as he lost to home grappler Akzhurek Tanatarov in the 66kg semifinal bout. Amit got past Basher Ahmed Al Yamani of Yemen (4-0, 2-0), Xiaobn Hong of China (0-1, 4-0, 2-0) to make the final. In the title clash, he emerged as the winner against Japanese Shinichi Yumoto on better technical points (5-0).
Asian champion Dutt defeated Ulan Nadyrbek of Kyrgyzstan (2-1, 0-3, 5-3), Dilshod Mansurov of Uzbekistan (0-1, 2-1, 6-0) and Mandakhnaran Ganzorig of Mongolia (1-0, 7-0) to advance to the final. However, he lost to Iranian Masoud Esmailpoorjouybari (2-3, 0-1) to settle for the silver.
Yogeshwar said, “I am happy to have qualified and this should now give me a few months of good tension free training to get ready for London. I would like to thank the Mittal Champions Trust for the support.”Sushil beat Inookentii Innokentev of Kyrgyzstan (0-1, 1-0, 3-0), Zalimkhan Yusupov of Tajikistan (2-1, 0-2, 1-0) before going down to Tanatarov (0-3, 2-2). The Indian managed a bronze medal after getting the better of Erlanbieke Katai Ye of China (1-1, 1-0) in the repechage round.
Other Indians in fray, Narsingh Yadav (74kg), Pawan Kumar (84kg) and Mausam Khatri (96kg) could not make an impression.
The finalists in each weight category in this event will make the London Olympics.