New Delhi: Amit Kumar stole the limelight as he stormed into the finals of men`s freestyle 55kg category at the Senior Asian Wrestling Championship here on Saturday.
Women grapplers Vinesh and Babita Kumari will also have a shot at a bronze medal each as they lost their semifinal bouts in 51kg and 55kg category. The other Indian in the fray today, Bajrang, will be competing against Japan`s Shoogo Maeda for a podium finish.
The star for the home team was Amit, who defeated Kazakhstan`s Rassul Kaliyev comfortably in his first bout of the day. Amit, last year`s Asian Championship bronze medallist, drew loud cheers from home fans when he entered the mat. The 20-year-old fended off the Kazakh`s challenge without breaking much sweat and won the bout 2-0 3-0.
Amit, who got a bye in the first round, then went on to register a comprehensible win over Fumitaka Morishita of Japan, to reach the final and assure India its first medal in the Championships.
Amit won the opening period of the semifinal bout 1-0. The Haryana lad started well in the next period and gained a 2-0 lead. But, in the process, Amit received a hit on his head and was given medical treatment.
However, Amit continued with his momentum and went on the win the bout by fall. He will face North Korea`s Kyong Yang II in the final bout of the 55kg division.
Earlier, sisters Vinesh and Babita raised India`s medal hopes after registering contrasting wins in their opening bouts. Vinesh beat Japan`s Nanami Irie 1-2 1-1 1-0 while Babita decimated Liliya Shakirova of Uzbekistan 5-0 3-0.
In the semifinals, Vinesh started well by winning the first period 6-1. However, in the next two periods, Kazakhstan`s Tatyana Amanzol eked out a clinical performance to leave the home fans disappointed.
Tatyana won the bout 1-6 1-0 2-0 to send Vinesh out of the gold medal race in the 51kg category.
Bronze medallist at the World Championship last year, Babita (55kg) was defeated by Japan`s Kanako Murata 3-3 0-6 4-5 in the semifinals.