Mausam Khatri capitalised on his luck to win the repechage and clinch the bronze medal in the men's freestyle 96-kg wrestling eventin the Asian Games on Thursday. Khatri had earlier lost in the first round.
It was the third bronze for India in wrestling after the medals won in the Greco-Roman section by Ravinder Singh (60 kg) and Sunil Kumar Rana (66 kg).
After losing the first round to Taimuraz Tigiyev of Kazakhstan, the 20-year-old Khatri won his bouts against Raja Alkarrad of Syria and Kim Jaegang of Korea to ensure the bronze in the repechage.
“All the fights were tough for me. I am extremely happy that at last I have won a medal for my country. I am now satisfied with my performance and will spare no efforts to prepare for the London 2012 Olympics,'' said Khatri.
It was a lucky breakthrough for Khatri as the wrestlers who lose to the eventual finalists alone make the grade for repechage. The Iranian was disqualified in the quarterfinal bout against the eventual gold medallist, Reza Yazdani of Iran. Thus, the chance meant for the Kazakh got passed on to Khatri who grabbed it with both hands.
In fact, it was an interesting revival of fortune for Khatri as he had been brought back into the Indian squad for the Asian Games after having been kept out of the Commonwealth Games following a provisional suspension for a positive dope test back home in Delhi. He was replaced by Anil Mann in the Commonwealth Games, but included in the squad for the Asian Games as there was a provision to do so.
The coach of the Indian team, Govinder Singh Sangha, was happy with the first medal won in the freestyle section, and said that the team should have won another medal in the 84-kg section as well on Wednesday.
Coach Jagminder Singh was equally happy with the wrestler's good fortune and said that the team deserved the luck particularly after Rajeev Tomar had been laid low by fever. Tomar lost the first round to Aiaal Lazarev of Kyrgyzstan in the 120 kg section and there was no dramatic revival for him.
The Kyrgyzstan wrestler had lost to the eventual gold medallist Artur Taymazov of Uzbekistan, but lost to the Iranian Fardin Masoumi Valadi who went on to clinch the bronze.
There was no such scenario in the women's section as Nirmala Devi lost to Zhuldyz Eshimova of Kazakhstan. After a good performance in the first round Nirmala won more points in the second. However, the Kazakh wrestler proved too strong in the end.
Keywords: Asian Games 2010