Pro Wrestling League: Oksana Herhel, Yogeshwar Dutt shine as Haryana win 5-2 against Delhi
Dilli Veer's saving grace was India international Vinesh Phogat, who won her bout comfortably, even as others came a cropper.
New Delhi: Star attraction Yogeshwar Dutt and current World Champion Oksana Herhel lived up to their reputations as Haryana Hammers posted a comprehensive 5-2 victory over Dilli Veers on the third day of the inaugural edition of the Pro Wrestling League here on Saturday.
However, Dilli Veer's saving grace was India international Vinesh Phogat, who won her bout comfortably, even as others came a cropper.
In a closely-fought battle, Yogeshwar, making a comeback from a knee injury, posed a tough fight against World Championship silver medallist Navruzov Ikhtiyor of Uzbekistan, representing Dilli Veers, to eke out a narrow 3-2 win in Men's 65kg category.
With Haryana already having won the contest before Yogeshwar took the mat for his much-awaited bout of the day, the London Olympic bronze medallist took time to get to the rhythm.
In the opening round, Yogeshwar managed to earn a point and that too because the Uzbek wrestler got a warning from the referee, but it was enough to give the Indian a cushion of 1-0 lead at the break.
In the second round, the grappler from Sonepat tried his best to overpower his rival and his efforts paid rich dividends as he managed to push his opponent down on the mat for two points. But in the end, Ikhtiyor earned back a point by pushing Yogeshwar out of the mat to reduced the margin of defeat.
"I was under a lot of pressure coming to fight after a long time, following the recovering from my injury. That's the reason why I also took time to get back my rhythm. But I am very happy to have won this one and it has boosted my confidence a lot," Yogeshwar said at the post match media conference.
"It was good to fight a World Championship silver medallist and this would certainly give me a lot of confidence," he added.
Supported by good friend and compatriot Bajrang Punia of Bengaluru Yodhas, and presence of mother Sushila Dutt for the first time at a venue to see her son fight, Yogeshwar finally prevailed over his opponent.
"My mom came here as I told her that it is just a league and there is nothing to be worried about. I am happy she was here but I am sure she could not have watched it properly today also, even though I told her to just enjoy herself," he said.
Earlier, Ukraine's Oksana Herhel, PWL's costliest buy at Rs 4.13 million representing Harayana Hammers justified her top billing as she got the better of her rival Yesilirmak Elif Jale of Dilli Veer 6-1 by completely overpoweringthe Turkish girl in the Women's 58kg category.
In a battle between this year's World championship gold medallist Oksana and the bronze medallist Yesilirmak, the first round was a hard-fought affair with none sparing an inch to each other.
At the end of round one, Yesilirmak managed to earn a point to take a 1-0 lead. But Oksana came back strongly in the second round and used all her experience and skills to simply overpower her opponent.
Oksana brought Yesilirmak down on the mat and the Turkish girl had to take the 21-year-old Ukrainian world champion by the teeth to save herself from her grip.
It, however, turned out to be an easy outing for Dilli Veer's Vinesh Phogat, who took just 2:35 minutes to down her compatriot Nirmala Devi of Haryana 10-0 in women's 48kg.
Although by that time Haryana had already taken an unassailable 4-1 lead with Oksana, Livan Lopez Azcuy, Hitender and Geetika Jakhar winning their respective bouts for the Hammers, Vinesh pulled one back for Dilli Veer to reduce the margin to 4-2.
Earlier, Dinesh Kumar of Dilli Veer proved to be no match to his Haryana rival Livan Lopez Azcuy in the Men's 74kg as the latter simply tamed the local boy to win the first bout 0-7 to give early lead to the Hammers.
But Dilli Veer's Gurpal Singh in Men's 97kg tamed Yuri Maler of Haryana to post a comfortable 11-0 win in just 3:40 minutes to tie the scores 1-1.
A dominating Gurpal led 7-0 after the first round and in the second round he took just 40 more second to earn four more points over the Argentine wrestler to bring Dilli back on track.
But thereafter Haryana won three bouts on the trot to take an upper hand. After Oksana won her bout, Haryana bagged the next two as well.
In the men's 125kg Hitender of Haryana beat Krishan Kumar of Delhi team 7-4, while in Women's 69kg, Haryana's Geetika Jakhar and Delhi's Nikki reached the scoreline of 2-2 in an evenly fought contest but the former was declared winner on the basis of last point achieved.
Haryana Hammers next match is against Bengaluru Yodhas and Yogeshwar said it would be a tough contest.
"There are some really good wrestlers in Bangalore team and it would be a tough contest. Fighting against Bajrang will also be tough. Me and Bajrang support each other whenever we play. Earlier me and Sushil used to do so when we had started off. But now fighting against Bajrang will be difficult," concluded Yogeshwar.