Rajender Kumar's 55kg gold medal provided some solace as other Indian grapplers disappointed in the Greco-Roman competitions here on Wednesday.
Manoj Kumar (84kg) settled for a silver medal, while Sunil Kumar (66kg) and Dharmender Dalal (120kg) bagged a bronze each for the host on the second day of the wrestling competitions in the Commonwealth Games. India, thus, garnered four gold, one silver and two bronze medals from the Greco-Roman competitions.
Commonwealth championship gold medallist Rajender Kumar trounced Sri Lankan S. Manel Yaparathna (8-0, 6-0) and Canadian Promise Mwenga (5-0, 6-0) to assure a berth in the final.
In the title clash, the 24-year-old made the most of the electrifying atmosphere to outclass Pakistani wrestler Azhar Hussain (5-0, 6-0) and claim the top honour.
Rajender rolled the Pakistani over to pocket the first round and staved off a strong attack by Hussain to register a comfortable win in the next. During the second round, Rajender injured his nose but that did not affect his performance.
“I won easily and it would help in my preparation for the Asian Games,” said Rajender, adding that the injury was an accident.
Indian coach Hargobind Singh was confident of the victory. “We were 100 per cent sure of Rajender's win as the Pakistani is not a full-time Greco-Roman wrestler. He was lacking in terms of skill and technique,” Hargobind said.
Manoj, another Commonwealth champion, received a bye in the first round and a walkover in the second to be in the semifinals. He defeated South African Dean van Zyl (3-0, 1-0) to set up a title clash with Nigerian E.J. Agbonavbare.
The 25-year-old has to blame his rush of blood against a quality opponent like Agbonavbare, who won the final bout (4-0, 2-0, 3-0) after a tough fight.
Sunil, who lost to England's Myroslav Dykun in the first round, got his act together in the repechage to land the 66kg bronze.
Dalal, a Commonwealth championship winner, could not live up to the expectations as he went down to Ivan Popov of Australia in a three-round semifinal contest.
The 26-year-old, however, sailed smoothly to snatch the bronze medal.
Keywords: Commonwealth Games