Sumit Malik reaches semis on opening day of World Wrestling Championships
India’s Sumit Malik recorded one of the biggest results of his career by reaching the semifinals of the World Wrestling Championships even as Sonba Tanaji Gogane was outclassed by reigning European champion Rashidov Gadzhimurad in the men’s free style quarterfinals, here on Saturday. Malik, the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games gold medallist, overcame Inkar Yermukambet of Kazakhstan 6-1 in the quarterfinals after beating Japan’s Taiki Yamamoto 4-1 in the pre-quarterfinals of the 125kg category.
It was a favourable draw for the Asian Championship silver medallist and Malik made most of it as he was knocked out at preliminary stage last year. Malik had returned empty-handed from the Jakarta Asian Games this year. Gogane made a stupendous start by winning two bouts but was outwitted by Rashidov in the 61kg quarterfinals.
It was always going to be tough challenge for Gogane as he was up against last year’s World Championship silver medallist and two-time European champion. Gogane started aggressively but Rashidov’s stoic defence meant that the Indian was forced to slow down. The Russian got on board with a takedown and then opened up a 4-0 lead with an expose. It pegged the Indian back.
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The Russian further consolidated his lead with a leg hold and by the end of period one, he was leading 6-0. With 40 seconds to go in the bout, Rashidov stunned Gogane by lifting him on his shoulder. The Russian pulled the Indian down for a four-point move, ending the bout in his favour with almost half-a-minute to go.
Gogane had beaten Andrei Bekrenu 4-3 and Lowe Bingham (10-0) in the qualification rounds. Now it remains to be seen if the Indian gets a repechage round. But it was all over for Jitender, who had replaced Sushil Kumar in the Indian squad, as he lost his 1/16 bout 3-6 to Slovakia’s Akhsarbek Gulaev in the 74kg contest. Pawan Kumar too faded in the 86kg category as he could not go even beyond the qualification round. He losing 0-6 to Ukraine’s Mraz Dzhafarian.