India’s Greco Roman wrestler Sajan gave his blood and sweat before emerging champion in the 77kg category as the hosts claimed four medals, including two silver and a bronze, on the opening day of the Junior Asian Championships here.
Four of the five Indians in action today returned with medals as Manjeet opted out of event due to an injury.
Sajan opened India’s gold account while Vijay (5kg) and Aryan Pawar (130kg) settled for silver medals. Kumar Sunil won bronze in the 87kg.
Sajan overcame Iran’s Shayan-Hosein Afifi 3-0 in the final to better his last year’s performance at the event when he won a bronze in Taipei. It was Sajan’s first international gold as he had a bronze at the Junior Worlds last year.
He had taken a 3-0 lead and maintained it throughout despite suffering a blow. With 27 seconds to go for the final whistle, he received a cut above the right eye and had to be treated.
Sajan bravely held off the Iranian to claim the gold. He had got past Tajikistan’s D. Rozikov by technical fall and then defeated Korea’s S Lee to reach the gold medal bout.
“I am glad I won the gold. I had won two bronze last year. At Junior Asian and at the Junior Worlds also I won bronze. So this is my first international gold. I was told by my coach to keep him passive and the strategy worked,” Sajan said.
Vijay had to settle for the silver in the 55kg category after being outplayed by Iran’s Pouya Mohamad Naserpour. The Indian lost the gold medal bout by technical fall. He could not score a single point and conceded the decisive 0-8 lead. The Iranian had dominated from the beginning as he raced to a 7-0 lead in the first 15 seconds of the bout.
Pouya pushed Vijay out to begin his point-winning spree and then added more to his tally. Then he threw the Indian for a four-point move. It was a Herculean task for Vijay to erase the 0-7 lead. The roaring Iranian pushed Vijay out of mat one more time to seal the gold.
Vijay had beaten H Katigiri 12-10 in the qualifying and then won the quarterfinal against Uzbekistan’s D Nematov by technical fall. In the closely fought semifinal, he beat kazakhstan’s A Abdurkhmano 15-10.
Jeong Yeongwo of Korea and Kazakhstan’s Arslan Abdurkhmanov won the bronze medals in the 5kg category.
In another gold medal bout in the 130kg category, Aryan Panwar lost 1-2 to Iran’s Amin Mohammadzaman Mirzazadeh. The Indian mostly was passive in the final.
Aryan had begun with a dominating 9-1 win over Japan’s A Sakai in the quarterfinal and then came from behind to beat A Vakhobov 7-4. After conceding a 0-4 lead, Aryan won seven points in a row to move to the final.
In the 87kg, Kumar Sunil won the bronze after defeating Japan’s Toyomura Hiroto by technical fall as he raced to a 8-0 lead in the first round itself. Kumar had lost his semifinal by technical fall to Iran’s M Saravi.
Manjeet, the fifth Indian wrestler who was to compete in the 63kg category, pulled out of the event due to an injury.