Indian Greco-Roman wrestlers show new promises
The Greco-Roman style has always been a downside to Indian wrestling. While the rise of Indian wrestling in recent years is largely due to the freestyle categories, the Greco-Roman has been its poor cousin, most of the time relegated to the background.
However, if the performance at the Asian Junior Wrestling Championships here last week is anything to see, Greco-Roman wrestling in India is showing signs of change for the better.
With one gold, two silver and two bronze, the Greco-Roman wrestlers for once nearly matched their freestyle counterparts.
Sonu Khatri, the coach of the Greco-Roman Indian team, is a proud man these days. Sitting among his students in the sweat-soaked warm-up hall at Indira Gandhi Stadium – adjoining the main arena where the Asian Junior Championships were being held – Khatri already dreamed of achieving greater glory in the future.
âThis time we did very well in the Greco-Roman categories. We had a three month camp before the tournament where we tried to iron out the weaknesses.
âWe focused more on the ground positions which have always been a weak point for Indian Greco-Roman wrestlers. In Greco-Roman wrestling, the ground positions are very important. Most of our losses are due to That reason. Unless you are perfect at offensive and defensive movements on the ground, it’s hard to win against the best wrestlers, “Khatri told IANS.
“We also called on foreign coaches for more specialized training on Greco-Roman techniques. Standing positions have always been our strong point. But it’s not so important that ground positions decide the outcome. This new approach has paid off as many of our wrestlers have done well lately.
“We’ve been doing better since last year, when we clinched a Greco-Roman medal at the World Championships after a 17-year gap,” he added.
Khatri praised Sajan, who beat Iranian Shayan Hossein Afifi 3-0 in the 77 kilograms final to win the only Greco-Roman gold medal for India. It was the only loss on day one of the competition for the Iranians, who had won four of the five gold medals offered that day.
“He’s a world-class wrestler. He won bronze at the World Championships last year. He prepared very well for this tournament. Before that, we won a Greco-Roman medal at the World Championships. world when Mukesh Khatri won bronze in 2001. ” he said.
“This is his last year at the junior level. The junior and senior world championships will be held in September. We are confident he will win medals in both tournaments,” added the coach.
India also claimed a rare silver in the 130kg division after Aryan Panwar suffered a narrow loss to Iranian Amin Mohammadzaman Mirzazadeh in the final. Panwar had done well before conceding a late point to lose 1-2.
âWe have always done well in the heavyweight freestyle wrestling categories. But now we have started playing Greco-Roman as well. Last year we got silver at the Asian Junior Championships and repeated that performance. this year, âKhatri said.
âPreviously we were lagging behind in the Greco-Roman categories. But those days are now over. We are now doing well on a consistent basis. Previously we were just qualifying for the Olympics, Asian Games or Championships. of the world. But now every wrestler is competing for gold. “
(Ajeyo Basu can be contacted at [email protected])
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