Sunil Kumar Rana narrowly missed a bronze medal as India started its campaign on a disappointing note on the opening day of the Asian wrestling championship at the K.D. Jadhav Stadium, inside the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex, here on Thursday.
Rana, who had won the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medal at the same venue, put up a valiant fight before losing to Yerbol Konyratov of Kazakhstan in the 66kg Greco-Roman repechage round.
Gaurav Sharma, the other Indian wrestler who made it to the repechage round after going down against Korean Gyu-Jin Choi (4-0, 2-0), was comprehensively beaten by Won Chol Yun of North Korea in a 55kg Greco-Roman bout.
Ravinder Singh (60kg) and Naveen (120kg), made early exits. Ravinder lost to Korean Douk Gil while Naveen lost to Iranian Darzi Babazanjadeh in the first round.
Rana, who got a first round bye, was the best performer for the home side. He got past Chinese Gaoquan Zhang (2-0, 1-1) to set up a semifinal clash with Ji-Hun Kim but the Korean was too good for the Indian as he won the contest (7-0, 4-0) comprehensively.
In the keenly-fought repechage bout, Kazakh wrestler Konyratov got a point in the first period after referee issued a warning to Rana. In the next period, Rana benefited in a similar fashion and the fight went into the decider. With a taped right shoulder, Rana improved his resistance to take the fight to the clinch. Rana was in an advantageous position after drawing the right ball, but could not break the solid defence of his Kazakh opponent.
“We got tough draws. Sunil fought well, but was unlucky in the clinch. When both wrestlers are tired, it is always good to lose the draw and stay on the mat,” said Greco-Roman coach Hargobind Singh.
The organisers faced a huge embarrassment during the prize giving ceremony of the 55kg class. After the request through the public address system to rise for the National anthem of Korea, everyone was shocked to hear a popular song from a Hindi film. As if that was not enough, the Korean anthem was played after the athletes had left the podium.
The medallists: Greco-Roman: 55kg: 1. Guy-Jin Choi (Kor), 2. Shota Tanokura (Jpn), 3. Z. Kanybek (Kgz) and Won Chol Yun (PRK); 60kg: 1. Elmurat Tasmuradov (Uzb), 2. A. Papi (Iri), 3. Arsen Eraliev (Kgz) and Lumin Wang (Chn). 66kg: 1. Ji-Hun Kim (Kor), 2. M. Zeidvand (Iri), 3. Hiroyuki Shimizhu (Jpn) and Yerbol Konyratov (Kaz). 120kg: 1. N. Tinaliyev (Kaz), 2. Xiaoming Nie (Chn), 3. Sabah Mohammad (Irq) and Murat Ramonov (Kgz).