It was another memorable day for the Indian wrestlers who bagged four medals, including a silver, in the Asian wrestling championship at the K.D. Jadhav Stadium, here on Sunday.
The women wrestlers made history of sorts when they secured three medals on the penultimate day of the event to gather five medals overall. With competitions in three freestyle categories remaining on the final day, the Indian wrestlers have won eight medals so far. In 2010, Indian grapplers had got seven medals on home turf.
Navjot Kaur, an Asian bronze medallist in 2011, improved upon her performance to claim the silver in women’s 67kg, while Doha Asian Games silver medallist Geetika Jakhar (63kg) and Jyoti (72kg) won a bronze each.
Young Hitender gave a fine performance to lay his hand on the bronze medal in 120kg freestyle.
The only disappointment for the host was the first-round exit of World championship bronze medallist and Olympian Geeta Phogat (59kg). Despite nursing a hamstring pull, she fought well against China’s Haiyan Li (2-0, 1-2, 1-1).
In a way, Navjot reinvented herself in this competition. After receiving a first round bye, the Amritsar girl defeated Korean Hyekyung Ham (1-0, 2-1) in the semifinals to set up a summit clash with 2010 Asian Games silver medallist Nasanburmaa Ochirbat.
Navjot strongly challenged the Mongolian before conceding a point in the first period of the final bout. Ochirbat displayed her superb agility and reflex to take a 5-0 lead in the next period. Navjot fought back to control her Mongol opponent and grab two points. But her effort was not good enough to get her the Asian title.
“I am satisfied with my performance. I had lost badly to the same wrestler in the World Cup earlier this year. This time my game was much better and I managed some points too,” said Navjot.
For seasoned wrestler Geetika, it was a sweet reminder of her 2003 Asian silver medal here.
Geetika, who twice went under the knife to recover from a nagging knee injury, was delighted to claim her third Asian championship medal, her first international medal after a gap of three years.
Geetika, who displayed glimpses of her old form, got past Olga Kalininna of Kazakhstan (1-0, 4-1) before losing to Zhuoma Xiluo (0-6, 0-2).
In the repechage, she pinned Thai wrestler Wilaiwan Thongkam in the first period to earn a podium finish.
After surrendering to Japanese Hiroe Suzuki (0-1, 0-1), Jyoti rallied to beat Elmira Syzdykova (1-5, 4-0, 1-0) for the bronze.
In the men’s competition, Hitender, who outmuscled Uzbek Aslonbek Gadoyev (6-0, 3-0) before getting beaten by Mongol C. Jargalsaikhan (0-3, 1-2), staged a ferocious comeback to pin down Dimitry Popov of Kazakhstan in the bronze medal bout.
Freestyle: Men: 120kg: 1. Hadi Parviz (Iri); 2. C. Jargalsaikhan (Mgl); 3. Hitender (Ind), Alaal Lazarev (Kgz).
Women: 59kg: 1. Chihiro Kumabe (Jpn); 2. Munkhtuya Tungalag (Mgl); 3. Aisuluu Tynybekova (Kgz), Haiyaan Li (Chn); 63kg: 1. Zhouma Xiluo (Chn); 2. Yurika Ito (Jpn); 3. Geetika Jakhar (Ind), T. Sharkhuu (Mgl); 67kg: 1. Nasanburmaa Ochirbat (Mgl); 2. Navjot Kaur (Ind); 3. Hyekyung Ham (Kor), Rulxue Jing (Chn); 72kg: 1. Hiroe Suzuki (Jpn); 2. Odonchimeg Badrakh (Mgl); 3. Juan Wang (Chn), Jyoti (Ind).