Journey of Indian Wrestling in 2021 – A Review

After Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt in London 2012, two more Chhatrasal Stadium products — Ravi Kumar Dahiya and Bajrang Punia — picked up a silver and a bronze respectively in the Olympics as wrestling made the most substantial contribution to the country’s tally of seven medals at the Tokyo Games

The two medals, out of seven qualifications, ensured that wrestling continued to contribute in India’s success at the Olympic stage since 2008.

Double Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar hogged the limelight in 2021 for the wrong reasons. His attempt to secure a berth for Tokyo Olympics was well appreciated but Sushil Kumar tarnished his image after he was reported for murdering a wrestler.

Vinesh Phogat was considered favourites to win medals at Tokyo by virtue of her international performances leading up to the Summer Games, but she was pinned down in Quarterfinal. 

A new star was born for Indian wrestling in Anshu Malik who entered the history books as the first ever Indian woman to reach the World Championships final.

Not far behind was Sarita Mor. She won a bronze at the Oslo world meet, showing steely nerves and proving she had the potential to strike it big in world class events.

What is even more assuring being the performance of Indian juniors at the world stage. The boys, girls and the cadets have all made a mark for themselves this year, returning medals in numbers, fanning hopes for a bright future.

Tokyo Olympics:

Anshu Malik lost to Olympic silver medalist Valeria Koblova 1-5 in 57kg Repechage round. Earlier, she lost to Iryana Kurachkina 2-8 in 1st round. Sonam Malik lost to Mongolia’s Bolortuya K. in the Round of 16. She did not have the opportunity to play repechage round as Bolortuya lost in next round. Seema Bisla lost her Round of 16 bouts 1-3 to Sarra Hamdi of Tunisia (50kg), she did not have the opportunity to play repechage round.

Vinesh Phogat lost to 2-time World Champion Vanesa Kaladzinskaya in QF (53kg) Earlier, she defeated Olympic Bronze medalist Sofia Mattsson 7-1 to move into quarter final in 53kg. Vinesh Phogat was out of contention for Repechage as her opponent lost the semi-final.

Deepak Punia loses Bronze medal bout San Marino’s wrestler Myles Amine in Freestyle 86kg Wrestling. Earlier, he moved to Quarter final of Men’s 86kg Freestyle Wrestling with 12-1 win over Nigeria’s Agiomor in 1st round. He defeated Lin Zushen of China 6-3 to reach the semi-final. Deepak Punia lost Semis bout 0-10 to former World Champion David Taylor. 

Ravi Kumar Dahiya settled for Silver medal as he lost World Champion Zaur Uguev 4-7 in Final of 57kg Freestyle Wrestling. Earlier he moved to quarter final as he defeated Urbano Tigreros of Colombia 13-2 in Men’s 57 kg freestyle. Next he defeated Georgi Valentinov of Bulgaria 14-4 to reach the semi-final. Ravi Kumar Dahiya made an amazing comeback from 2-9 down to storm into the Final of Men’s Freestyle 57kg Wrestling defeating Nurislam Sanayev of Kazakhstan.

Bajrang Punia won his opening round bout to progress to Quarters (FS 65kg); defeated Ernazar Akmataliev of Kyrgyzstan. He stormed into Semis with pinned win over Iranian grappler Morteza Ghiasi. However, he lost to reigning Olympic medallist & 3-time World Champion Haji Aliyev of Azerbaijan 5-12 in Semi-final. Later, he defeated Daulet Niyazbekov of Kazakistan to win Bronze Medal.

India won 14 Medals in Asian Wrestling Championships at Kazakhstan:

India finished with 14 medals to stand in the third spot in the 34th edition of Asian Wrestling Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan. India won 5 Gold, 3 Silver & 6 Bronze Medals. India finished behind Iran and Kazakhstan. In the last edition India won 20 medals (5 Gold, 6 Silver & 9 Bronze).

In Women’s Wrestling India won 4 Gold 1 Silver 2 Bronze Medals. In Men’s Freestyle won 1 Gold 2 Silver 4 Bronze Medals. India failed to win medal in Greco-Roman category. In team ranking India finished second with 151 points in Men’s Freestyle behind Iran, seventh in Greco-Roman category with 72 points & second in Women’s freestyle with 168 points behind Mongolia.

GOLD MEDAL

Ravi Kumar Dahiya – 57 kg Men’s freestyle, Vinesh Phogat – 53 kg Women’s freestyle, Anshu Malik – 57 kg Women’s freestyle, Sarita Mor – 59 kg Women’s freestyle, Divya Kakran – 72 kg Women’s freestyle

SILVER MEDAL

Bajrang Punia – 65 kg Men’s freestyle, Deepak Punia – 86 kg Men’s freestyle, Sakshi Malik – 65 kg Women’s freestyle

BRONZE MEDAL

Karan Mor – 70 kg Men’s freestyle, Narsingh Yadav – 79 kg Men’s freestyle, Sanjeet – 92 kg Men’s freestyle, Satyawart Kadian – 97 kg Men’s freestyle, Seema Bisla – 50 kg Women’s freestyle, Pooja Sihag – 76 kg Women’s freestyle

Ravi Dahiya settles for silver at Poland Open Wrestling 2021 Ranking Series

Ravi Dahiya could not take advantage of a tiring Gulomjon Abdullaev in the final after outclassing the same Uzbek wrestler in his opening round and settled for a silver medal at the Poland Open.  Competing in only his second competition of the season, Ravi began with an easy 10-1 win over Abdullaev but struggled against Kazakhsthan’s Adlan Askarov before prevailing 13-8. He sealed his spot in the semifinals with a 9-5 win over American Nathan Khalid Tomasello, who like Ravi, usually, competes in 57kg. Ravi then reached the final with a 7-4 win over Iran’s Reza Ahmadali Atrinagharchi.

Vinesh Phogat wins gold at Poland Open Wrestling 2021 Ranking Series

Vinesh Phogat won the 53kg gold at the Poland Open in Warsaw on Friday, giving herself some crucial practice ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. It is the third title of the season for the 26-year-old Vinesh, who claimed gold medals at the Matteo Pellicone event (March) and Asian Championship (April) earlier.

World Cadet Wrestling 2021 at Budapest

Young Indian wrestler Aman Gulia emerged the new world champion in the Cadet championship with a convincing 5-2 win over American Luke Joseph Lilledahl in 48kg. Sagar Jalan won Gold Medal in 80 kg summit defeating American James Mockler Rowley 4-0 in final. Vaibhav Patil lost the bronze medal match by 5-7 against Azerbaijan’s Javid Javadov in 55kg. Sahil pinned Kazakh wrestler to win Bronze medal in 110 kg. Tannu won GOLD medal in 43 kg. She defeated Belarus’ Valeryia Mikitsich in final by 11-0. Priya won GOLD medal 73 kg defeating Kseniya Patapovich (Belarus) by 5-0.  Varsha won Bronze medal (65 kg) defeating Turkey’s Duygu Gen by 5-0. Jaskaran Singh (FS 60kg) won Silver while Chirag (FS 51kg) & Jaideep (FS 71kg) won Brinze Medal. Komal won GOLD medal in 46 kg. Back to back Gold medals for Komal. She won Gold in last edition (43 kg). Antim won Bronze medal in 53 kg.

India won Team Freestyle title at World Cadet Wrestling Championships 2021

India won freestyle champions title at the World Cadet Wrestling Championships for the very first time, with the United States and Russia finishing second and third respectively at Budapest. India finished with 147 points followed by USA on 143 and Russia on 140 points. In the past nine tournaments, Russia have won eight times while Iran won once in 2018. This is India’s first-ever team freestyle world title at any level. India won 2 Gold 1 Silver & 3 Bronze medals in freestyle wrestling.

India Women Finished SECOND in Team Freestyle title at World Cadet Wrestling Championships 2021

Two days after Indian Men’s Team created history by winning its first-ever freestyle team title at cadet World Championships, Indian women’s Team finished second in the women’s team title at Budapest. USA claimed the title with 149 points for first time, 10 more than second-placed India. Russia finished third with 134 points. Indian Women finished with 3 Gold & 2 Bronze Medals.

India won 11 Medal in the 44th edition of the World Juniors Wrestling Championships 2021 at Ufa, Russia

India won 1 Silver and 5 Bronze Medals in Men’s Freestyle in 2021 World Junior Wrestling Championships at Ufa. In team ranking India finished 5th with 101 points. Iran won the team event, followed by Russia, USA & Azerbijan. For India Gourav Baliyan (79kg) & Deepak (97kg) won Bronze Medal, Ravinder won Silver in 61kg, while Yash in 74kg, Pruthviraj in 92kg, Anirudh in 125kg won Bronze Medal.

Bipasha in 76kg, Bhateri in 65kg and Sanju Devi in 62kg settled for Silver medal while Simran (50kg) and Sito (55kg) bagged bronze. The Indian women ended the campaign with five medals 3 Silver and 2 Bronze. India finished 3rd on Team Ranking with 134 points, behind USA & Russia.

India finished with 1 Silver & 1 Bronze in World Wrestling Championship at Oslo, Norway

India finished their World Wrestling campaign with One Silver & One Bronze Medal at Oslo, Norway. Anshu Malik won a silver medal in the women’s 57kg category while Sarita Mor clinched a bronze medal in the women’s 59kg weight division.

Nine Indian wrestlers competed in the Greco-Roman category and ten Indian wrestlers in the men’s freestyle category, all drew blank in the meet.

India end campaign with five medals at U23 World Wrestling Championship at Belgrade, Serbia

Indian wrestlers secured five medals, one silver and four bronze, at the U23 World Wrestling Championships 2021 in Belgrade, Serbia. All of India’s medals came through women’s wrestlers.  Shivani Pawar won silver in 50kg while Anju in 55kg, Divya Kakran in 62kg, Radhika in 65kg and Nisha in 72kg picked up bronze medals.

India’s Greco-Roman and men’s freestyle grapplers drew blank.