New Delhi: Amit Kumar clinched a gold medal in men`s 55kg category while three other grapplers bagged a bronze medal each to end two days of disappointment for India in the Senior Asian Wrestling Championship here on Saturday.
Amit, who won a bronze in last year`s edition, trounced North Korea`s Kyong Yang II 1-0 5-2 in a grueling duel despite carrying a head injury into the summit clash to open India`s gold medal account in the championships.
In the women`s category, Vinesh (51kg) and Babita Kumari (55kg) won their bronze medal bouts while Bajrang (men`s 60kg) pocketed a bronze, to end the day three of the championships on a high after two medal-less days. All the Indian wrestlers in action secured a medal each on Saturday.
Wearing a red singlet, Amit received an early warning from the referee in trying to get a grip of his opponent in his final bout. The warning, however, did not deter the 20-year-old, as he skillfully attacked the Korean to score the first point.
A medical timeout was given to Amit who was bleeding from the wound, which he sustained during his semifinal clash. The brave lad maintained the advantage to win first period 1-0.
The second period gave some edge-of-the-seat excitement for the sizeable crowd at K D Jadhav Wrestling Stadium as the two wrestlers were locked in a gripping contest.
Amit manoeuvred to throw down in the third period to open his account. The diminutive Indian wrestler went on to take a 4-0 lead. The Korean tried hard to match the local favourite and gained two points. However, he lost steam in the end and had to satisfy with the silver medal.
The bronze medals went to Iran`s Rassul Kaliyev and Nomin Batbold of Mongolia.
"There were lot of expectations from me and I am happy that I have delivered," Amit said after his gold-medal bout.
"When I was on the mat I forgot about my injury. I just wanted to win the bout. I had watched Kyong`s semifinal bout. I knew he would attack my left leg and I did not allow him to bend too down to do that," the London Olympics quarterfinalist added.
India`s opened its medal account in the championships when Vinesh defeated Thailand`s Sriprapa Tho-Kaew 1-0 3-0 in women`s 51kg competition to win a bronze. Her cousin and last year`s World Championship bronze medallist, Babita Kumari, too did not disappoint the local fans as she recorded an easy win over Mongolia`s Byambatseren Sundev 1-1 3-0 in the bronze-medal tie.
Bajrang, who replaced Yogeshwar Dutt, had big shoes to fill in. Ringside instructions from Yogeshwar failed to inspire the man from Delhi as he lost his first bout to North Korea`s Hak Hwang Ryong 0-3, 5-6.
Luckily for Bajrang, the Korean entered the final handing the Indian a shot at the bronze medal through repechage rounds. Banjang went onto win the first repechage match to set the bronze medal clash against Shogo Maeda of Japan whom he defeated 1-1 3-1.
In the 60kg men`s freestyle, North Korea`s Hak Hwang Ryong won the gold while silver went to Jae-Hoon Yang of Korea. The other bronze medalist was Daulet Niyazbekov.
Earlier, Vinesh and Babita registered contrasting wins in their opening bouts. Vinesh beat Japan`s Nanami Irie 1-2 1-1 1-0 in a close contest while Babita decimated Liliya Shakirova of Uzbekistan 5-0 3-0.
In the semifinal, 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 match 1-6 1-0 2-0 to send the Indian out of the gold medal race in the 51kg category.
The gold in this category went to Tatyana Amanzol (KAZ) while Haiping Liu of China got the silver. The other bronze medallist, besides Vinesh, was Sim Hyang So of North Korea.
Babita too lost her semifinal bout to Japan`s Kanako Murata 3-3 0-6 4-6 in the 55kg division.
China`s Senlian Yang grabbed gold while Kanako Murata had to settle for silver in the 55kg women`s category. The other bronze medal went to Kum Ok Han of North Korea.