Putting up an abject show, India’s Greco Roman wrestlers drew a blank at the World Olympic Qualifiers as none of them could earn a Tokyo Games quota, here on Saturday. India’s brightest chance was with Gurpreet Singh but he was ousted after losing his 77kg pre-quarterfinal in just 48 seconds to 2020 European champion Rafig Huseynov from Azerbaijan.
The quick Huseynov pulled off a quick four-point move to stun Gurpreet. Before Gurpreet could regroup, the Azerbaijani effected another four-pointer to end the bout in the first period itself. Gurpeet, who had won a bronze medal at last month’s Asian Qualifiers, had got a walkover from Tajikistan’s Daler Rez Zade in his opening bout. All Greco Roman wrestlers cut a sorry figure as none of them could win a bout.
While Sachin Rana forfeited his opening bout to bow out of the 60kg competition, Ashu (67kg) squandered ‘Par Terre’ position advantage to lose 3-8 against Aliaksandr Liavonchyk of Belarus. Sunil Kumar missed chances aplenty against Russia’s Davit Chakvatadze in the 87kg pre-quarterfinal. He was up 1-0 but did not take advantage of the ‘Par Terre’ as he let the Russian get out of the defensive position.
Chakvatadze was tired towards the ends but the Indian could not take advantage of even that. Deepanshu was pinned by Spain’s Jesus Gasca Fresnada when he was trailing 3-7 in his 97kg pre-quarterfinal. Only the two finalists were given Tokyo Olympics quota in this competition. Overall, India will field its biggest ever contingent of eight wrestlers at the Tokyo Games — four men’s free style wrestlers and as many women wrestlers.
In the last edition in 2016, India had fielded seven wrestlers — two men’s free style, two Greco Roman and three women wrestlers. Men’s free style wrestler Sumit Malik (125kg) and Seema Bisla (50kg, women) earned quotas from this event in Sofia. Before this event, Ravi Dahiya (57kg), Bajrang Punia (65kg), Deepak Punia (86kg) and Vinesh Phogat (women’s 53kg) had qualified through the 2019 World Championship in Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan. Young guns Anshu Malik (57kg) and Sonam Malik (62kg) had also qualified through the Asian Qualifier in Almaty, last month.