Rajender Kumar won the 55 kg Greco Roman silver medal on the penultimate day of the Asian wrestling championship at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex stadium here on Saturday.
Besides Rajender, Sunil Kumar Rana (66 kg) bagged a bronze medal to help India increase its overall tally to two gold, one silver and three bronze medals.
On the first day of the Greco Roman event, the Indian wrestlers put up a good show. In the last edition in Pattaya, India had bagged two silver and a bronze in this style.
Korea asserted its supremacy by capturing three of the four gold medals in contention.
Rajender, a Commonwealth championship gold medallist in Jalandhar last December, had a dream run as he steamrollered Shih-Shu Liu of Chinese Taipei (6-0, 6-0), Kritsada Kongsrichai of Thailand (6-0, 8-0) and Z. Kanybek of Kyrgyzstan (1-0, 3-0) to set up a title clash with Korean Gyu-Jin Choi.
In the keenly-contested final, Rajender went down to Choi (1-0, 0-4, 0-1).
The 24-year-old Indian took the lead after a favourable video referral. However, he was too exhausted for the following rounds and the Korean took full advantage of his rival's lack of stamina.
“The Korean had fought two bouts, while I had fought three on the way to the final. So, I lacked in stamina and found it difficult to rise up to the challenge. I have to work on my weak areas,” a disappointed Rajender said.
Three Indians were in the fray for bronze medals. In a repechage bout, Sunil toyed with his Thai opponent Sutep Oomchompoo (5-2, 3-0) to return the second Greco Roman medal for the home side.
“I had hoped for a better result. My first bout (against Kazakhstan's Aibek Yensekhanov) was a tough one. My opponent was a former junior world champion and that made the difference,” said Sunil.
Manoj Kumar (84 kg) defeated last year's bronze winner Ming-Hsuan Lin of Chinese Taipei (3-0, 3-0) to enter the semifinals. However, he could not get past Korea's Se-Yeol Lee (5-0, 1-0). The Commonwealth gold winner had a disheartening end to the championship as he lost to Iranian Davod Mohammad Chadorchi (0-3, 0-1) in a bout for the bronze.
A silver medallist in 2009, Dharmender Dalal (120 kg) made the repechage round after losing to Mohammad Goldasteh of Iran (0-1, 0-1). In a clash for the third place, Dharmender was convincingly beaten by Chinese Deli Liu (0-1, 0-2).
The medal winners: Greco Roman:
55 kg: 1. Gyu-Jin Choi (Kor), 2. Rajender Kumar (Ind), 3. Marat Garipov (Kaz), Z. Kanybek (Kgz).
66 kg: 1. Hyeon-Woo Kim (Kor), 2. Aibek Yensekhanov (Kaz), 3. Sunil Kumar Rana (Ind), Pengfei Yan (Chn).
84 kg: 1. Se-Yeol Lee (Kor), 2. Norikatsu Saikawa (Jpn), 3. Davod Mohammad Chadorchi (Iri), Janarbek Kenjeev (Kgz).
120 kg: 1. Mohammad Goldasteh (Iri), 2. Hani Salah Almarafy (Jor), 3. Deli Liu (Chn), Murodjon Tuychiev (Tjk).