Indian wrestler Amit Kumar’s (55 kg) hope for an Olympic bronze medal were dashed late last night after he lost (0-3) in the repechage round to Radoslav Marinov Velikov of Bulgaria.
While compatriot Narsingh Yadav crashed out earlier after losing his first round bout in the men’s 74 kg category to Canadian Matthew Judah Gentry, Kumar got a first round bye.
He then beat Iran’s Hassan Sabzali Rahimi 3-1 in the pre-quarterfinal before losing to Georgian Vladimer Khinchegashvili 1-3 in the quarterfinal. However, the Khinchegashvili went on to enter the final thereby throwing a lifeline to Kumar in the form of a repechage round.
Now Kumar, the youngest Indian wrestler to qualify for Olympics, had the chance to win a bronze medal. But for that, he would have had to first beat Radoslav Marinov Velikov of Bulgaria and thereafter Japan’s Shinichi Yumoto. However, Kumar lost to Velikov thereby ending all hopes of a medal.
Meanwhile, Yadav did not get a chance to contest in the repechage round as the man he lost to — Judah Gentry — went on to lose his quarter-final bout 1-3 to American Jordan Ernest Burroughs.
With India’s only female wrestler Geeta Phogat (55 kg freestyle) also losing out on a medal a day earlier, the onus of earning India any wrestling glory is now on Beijing Olympics bronze-winner Sushil Kumar (66 kg freestyle) and Yogeshwar Dutt (60 kg freestyle). The freestyle wrestling events begin today with Dutt in action.