Two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar, who made a return to the World Wrestling Championships after eight long years, slumped to defeat at the hands of Azerbaijan's Khadzhimurad Gadzhiyev in the opening bout of the men's freestyle 74kg category event at Nur Sultan, Kazhakstan on Friday.
Sushil took an early 8-2 lead in the match by sending Gadzhiyezv off the mat before the Azerbaijani opponent bounced back to cut the Indian grappler's lead to 9-6. Gadzhiyezv then pushed Sushil off the mat to take a 10-8 lead before the Azerbaijani held his nerve, grabbed the bonus point to emerge victorious by a margin of 11-9.
Meanwhile, Praveen Rana--the another Indian in the fray--stormed into the second round of the prestigious tournament after crushing Sue Changjae of Korea 12-1 in the men's freestyle 92kg category.
The Indian wrestler was dominant throughout the match as he allowed his Korean opponent to grab just one point before Rana was adjudged as the winner based on technical superiority.
It is to be noted that Sushil Kumar is the only Indian grappler to have won a title at the World Wrestling Championships when he emerged victorious in 2010 in Moscow.