Other Sports

Sandeep prevails in 74kg

Narsingh Yadav and controversies seem to be made for each other. Coming back to action after completing a four-year doping ban, the wrestler was expectedly in the spotlight on day one of the Freestyle Wrestling National Championships here on Saturday, for a brief while, before it shifted to 21-year old Sandeep Singh, who upset all calculations and predictions to win the 74kg category.

Narsingh was clearly rusty and tentative despite a win by technical superiority (difference of 10 points) in the first round against 19-year old Gourav Baliyan, the defending champion in this category but switching to 79kg last year who moved back down with an eye on Olympic qualification.

Talking point

But it was his quarterfinal bout against former Asian champion Amit Dhankhar that became the talking point of the day. Leading 3-1 before surrendering a point for passivity, Narsingh was stunned by a last-second turn by Dhankar in the face-off between two men on the comeback trail.

Initially denied the turn, several minutes of reviews and replays later, the referees agreed Dhankhar had beaten the clock, winning 4-3 and leaving Narsingh stoned.

Unlike Baliyan, however, Sandeep justified his decision to move down a rung. Not in anyone’s list of favourites to win the most competitive category, the defending champion from Punjab’s Mansa district in the 79kg scalped Dhankhar and Jitender Kumar en route to the title.

Contrasting fashion

He did so in contrasting fashion — defeating Dhankhar by technical superiority with more than 90 seconds left on the clock and upsetting Jitender in the dying seconds in the final.

Jitender, considered the successor to Sushil Kumar in the category, has been off colour for an entire year and, coming back from a knee injury, was cautious and defensive. The result has thrown open the 74kg — where India is yet to qualify for Olympics — and Sushil Kumar’s way back to claim it has only become tougher.

The results: 57kg: 1. Pankaj (SSCB), 2. Aman (HAR), 3. Rahul (DEL) and Shubham (HAR); 61kg: 1. Ravinder (SSCB), 2. Suraj (MAH), 3. Naveen (RSPB) and Sonba Tanaji (SSCB); 74kg: 1. Sandeep Singh (PUN), 2. Jitender (RSPB), 3. Amit Dhankar (HAR) and Vijay (HAR); 92kg: 1. Praveen (RSPB), 2. Prithviraj (MAH), 3. Lovpreet Singh (PUN) and Gopal Yadav (RSPB); 125kg: 1. Sumit (RSPB), 2. Dinesh Dhankar (HAR), 3. Pratyaksh (HAR) and Anil Kumar (RAJ).

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Mar 4, 2021 2:40:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/sandeep-prevails-in-74kg/article33645271.ece

Next Story