Greco-Roman grappler Ravi Malik will fight for bronze

Ravi Malik remains the only saving grace for the Greco-Roman Indian contingent at the World Junior Wrestling Championships as he reached the qualifiers for the bronze medal in the 82kg in Ufa, Russia.

Malik started Saturday with a 6-0 victory over Estonian Robin Uspenski and followed with an 18-9 victory over Kyrgyzstan Zhenish Humnabekov, who earned three quarter-final warnings. Malik couldn’t do much against Armenian Karen Khachatryan in the semifinals, however, whom he lost out of technical superiority. Once Malik was put on the “down,” Khachatryan made consecutive gut wrench moves to finish the fight.

Other Greco-Roman wrestlers across the country struggled, with a majority failing to make it through the knockout stages.

Narinder Cheema (97kg) was only the second Indian wrestler to win two fights and he got the award by returning to competition through the repechage.

Cheema beat Germany’s Anton Erich Vieweg 6-6, then Uzbekistan Abrorbek Nurmukhammedov 11-6. He lost his quarter-final to Pavel Hlinchuk, but since the Belarusian reached the final, Cheema has had another chance.

Vikas (72 kg) and Deepak (77 kg) won the first round before losing. Anup (55 kg), Vikas (60 kg), Anil (63 kg), Deepak (67 kg), Sonu (87 kg) and Parvesh (130 kg) all came out after losing their respective fights in the first round.

The competition ends on Sunday. Indian junior wrestlers have had a memorable campaign so far, winning 11 medals (4 silver, 7 bronze) in the men’s and women’s freestyle categories.

(With PTI inputs)

Robert J. King