Suraj Vashisht becomes India’s first U17 Greco-Roman world champion in 32 years

Suraj Vashisht won India’s first Greco-Roman gold medal at the U17 World Championships since 1990 in Rome on Tuesday night.

The 16-year-old from Rithal village, Rohtak in Haryana told UWW after his historic win. “I dream of becoming the best in my weight class. Obviously a senior world title is also a dream.”

India has never won a senior gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling at the World Championships. In history, this is the fourth gold medal that the country’s wrestlers have won in the junior age categories.

Pappu Yadav (gold at the U17 Worlds in 1990 as well as the U20 Worlds in 1992) and Vinod Kumar (gold at the U17 Worlds in 1980) are the only other Greco-Roman wrestlers to win the ultimate prize at this event.

“These wrestlers tire very easily while I keep attacking and pushing. It helps because then you know your opponent doesn’t have a lot of power,” Suraj said.

In the final, the 16-year-old decimated his opponent with two big four-point shots after the break. The Azerbaijani wrestler conceded a point for being passive in the first half. After the break, the Indian managed two eliminations to earn a comprehensive 11-0 win.

Ronit Sharma (48kg, silver) and Manish (51kg, bronze) were the other two Greco-Roman medalists for India at this tournament.

Robert J. King