New Delhi: Teenager Amit Kumar created history on Monday when he became the youngest Indian to win a silver medal in the 55kg freestyle category of the World Wrestling Championship at Budapest.
India, who were without star wrestler Sushil Kumar, won their first medal through Amit.
Sushil did not participate because of fitness issues.
After steamrolling four of his rivals through the evening, the 19-year-old Delhi boy lost to Hassan Farman Rahimi of Iran by a narrow 1-2 margin in the final. A victory would have made Amit only the second Indian grappler, after Sushil, to win a World championship gold medal.
The way Amit, hailing from Nahiri village in Haryana, started his campaign in the championship, one expected him to strike gold. However, unlike the Asian championship, where he tamed his Mongolian opponent, Amit fell at the final hurdle.
“The defeat was disappointing…but the way he fought his way to the final was excellent,” said Yashvir, a Dronacharya Award winner and one of Amit’s coaches at Delhi’s Model Town Stadium.
“By nature, Indian wrestlers are attack oriented. But Amit is different. His defence is solid and he can work very hard. I think we have finally found a worthy successor of Sushil Kumar. He would definitely be our best hope in the next Olympics,” said Yashvir, who also coached Sushil Kumar.
But Amit himself was happy with the fact that the world body has changed rules to make things easier for attackers. “Now, no one can run away as he may be pulled for passivity,” Amit had said before leaving for Hungary.
Amit began his day with a resounding 10-2 triumph over Japan’s Yasuhiro Inaba, who won the bronze in the 2010 World meet in Moscow. He followed it up by defeating current Mediterranean champion Zoheir El Ouarraqe of France 8-0.
Such was his dominance that Amit overpowered both his opponents in the first period of the two three-minute round and won through technical fall (securing 7 or more points than his opponent).
In fact, the Japanese was the only one who could get some points out of Amit till the final. In the quarter final, Amit breezed past US’ Angel Alesmo Escobedo 6-0, winning through a fall.
None expected Amit to overpower his famed Turkish rival, Sezor Akgul, a silver medallist in the 2009 World championship with such ease. But the Indian finished the proceedings in the first period itself and clinched an 8-0 verdict.
Earlier, Satyawart too began on a resounding note as he battered Sri Lanka’s Madasing Achchillage Gamini and registered a win by technical fall in the opening minutes of the bout.
In the next round, Nicolai Ceban of Moldova proved to be technically superior than Satyawart as the 20-year-old Indian bowed out of the competition.
Arun surrendered meekly to Levan Kelekhsashvili of Georgia and was overwhelmed in the first period itself. The 22-year-old did not pose any challenge to his opponent and failed to collect even a single point.