Viresh Kundu saved the day for India by winning an exciting battle against Korea's Jeongyul Kwon to claim a bronze medal in the 97kg category while four of his compatriots bit the dust on the second day of the Asian Junior Wrestling Championships in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Viresh, who hails from Uttar Pradesh and trains in Zirakpur, won 14-5 against his Korean opponent before the first three-minute period was completed, winning by technical superiority. It's the first international level medal for the 20-year-old.
Kundu had got past China's Yiming Li 8-6 in the quarterfinals before losing his close semifinal 6-8 to Iran's Vahid Dadkhah Ghasem Abadi.
Of the five Indian Greco Roman wrestlers in action today, only two reached the medal rounds. Malkit Hooda was outclassed 0-7 by Iran's Sajad Ali Imentalabfoumani in the 67kg bronze medal bout.
Sachin Rana (60kg), Kuldeep Malik (72kg) and Sanjeet (82kg) failed to make it to medal round.
The Greco Roman style competition ended today with India finishing with five medals, including one gold, two silver and two bronze medals.
India finished fourth in team rankings with 129 points while Iran won the team title with 225 points. Kazakhstan (147) finished second and was followed by Kyrgyzstan (135).
Viresh ensured that the hosts do not return empty-handed as he came from behind to win against the Korean. In an aggressive strart, Kwon nosed ahead with a two-point move but Viresh levelled the points quickly.
A defensive lapse from Kwon meant that Viresh succeeded in employing a gut wrench move and then while going for another roll, he managed to expose the Korean to take a 6-2 lead.
Viresh then added four more points with two take down moves. He then pushed the Korean to take a comprehensive 10-3 lead. On a move, initiated by the Indian, four points were awarded to the Korean but the Indian camp challenged the call and succeeded in getting it overturned. As a result, Viresh got four more points and won on technical superiority.
"My coach told me to remain focussed and do not let him dominate. Greco Roman suits my style of wrestling and the technique with which I play, that's why I focused on competing in Greco Roman, Viresh , coached by Ranveer Kundu, said.
"I want to now win a medal at the Junior World Championship," the son of a farmer, added.
Hooda did not have to break a sweat in the qualification as Ali Mohammed Kadhim Al Abbodah, his opponent from Iraq, forfeited the bout. Hooda then prevailed over Turkmenistan's Ezimov Bazargeldi 2-0 in the quarterfinals.
Hooda was though outclassed by Kyrgyzstan's Khalmurat Ibragimov 0-9 in the semifinals.
Sachin Rana crashed out of the 60kg category competition after losing his quarterfinal 7-10 to Uzbekistan's Tirkashev Turabek. Rana had won his opening bout 3-1 against China's Reheti Geminghan.
In the 72kg category, Kudeep Malik missed out on a medal round by losing his repechage bout 0-8 to Uzbekistan's Alijon Khuseynov. He had lost his quarterfinal too by the same margin to Iran's Amin Yavar Kaviyaninejad after prevailing 5-4 in a close qualification round against Kazakhstan's Dias Kalen.
In the 82kg category, Sanjeet's championship was over without scoring a point as he lost his quarterfinal by technical superiority to Uzbekistan's Muzafarbek Komlijonov.
The women's wrestling will begin tomorrow and competition in the freestyle will begin on Saturday.