New Delhi: A day after Amit Kumar won a silver medal in the World Wrestling Championship in Budapest, another youngster, Bajrang, did India proud when he bagged the bronze in the 60kg freestyle category.
Never before had India won two medals from a single edition of the World championships.
After having lost to Bulgarian grappler Vladimirov Vladimir Dubov in the opening round, the 20-year-old wrestler from Haryana stormed back in the repechage round to beat Mongolia’s Nyam-Ochir Enkhsaikhan 9-2 for the bronze medal.
Bajrang lost 0-7 against Dubov, but qualified for the repechage round after the Bulgarian reached the final.
He did exceedingly well in the repechage, defeating Shogo Maeda of Japan and Ivan Guidea of Romania before getting the better of Enkhsaikhan in the bronze medal bout.
“I still can’t believe that I have won a medal…it’s a dream come true for me,” Bajrang told The Telegraph minutes after the bout.
“I had a particular plan to fight against the Mongolian and I am happy that I could do it correctly.”
The team coach Virender Kumar said he was not surprised by Bajrang’s success.
“Those who had been following Bajrang’s career expected him to do well in the World meet. His talent was never in question.”
The coach said that after overwhelming the Mongolian in the most convincing manner, Bajrang came out of the ring and said: “Guruji I have realised my dream.”
Bajrang was then embraced by Olympic bronze medallist and senior 60 kg wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, who pulled out of the meet because of an injury.
Bajrang, who won a bronze in the Asian meet, was selected only after it was evident that Yogeshwar would not be fit for the World championship. Bajrang is known to be Yogeshwar’s protégé.
No wonder Yogeshwar was keenly watching his junior’s progress from the sidelines in Budapest.
In the repechage round, it was Nyam-Ochir who got a good start with a take-down, but the Haryana boy came back in the final seconds of the first period, pushing his opponent out the mat to level the scores 2-2.
From then on, Bajrang showed his technical prowess over the Mongolian and made several attacking moves including single leg take-down and back hold to seal the tie in his favour.
Asked why Bajrang came a cropper against his Bulgarian rival, Virender said the Indian could not open up in the first round.
“He had some technical problems. Once we explained things to him, Bajrang was unstoppable in the repechage.”
On Monday, India won their first medal of the meet when 19-year-old Amit Kumar clinched the silver in the 55kg category.