Bucharest, Nov 13:
Sajan Bhanwal was impressive in his two wins before losing to reigning champion Daniel Cataraga on the opening day of the Under-23 World Championship, leaving the Indian to fight for a bronze.
It was always a tough task for the 20-year-old to tackle the formidable Cataraga from Moldova in the 77kg semifinals. Eventually Catarga pinned him down in the first period itself.
The score was 6-3 at that time.
Before that, in a tremendous show, Sajan erased a 0-6 deficit against Seyedmohammad Seyedali Choobchian Langeroudi to beat the formidable Iranian 14-6.
In the quarterfinals, he beat Italy’s Riccardo Vito Abbresica comfortably 10-4. He led 5-3 at the break and raced to a 10-3 lead before conceding a point for stepping out. Thrice he pushed out his rival with throws and twice he scored points with easy take downs.
Sajan had won his maiden international gold at this year’s junior Asian championship and is the only Indian grappler to win back-to-back medals at the junior world championships – bronze in 2017 (Finland) and silver in 2018 (Slovakia).
However, it was disappointing day for other Indian wrestlers as Ravin was ousted after losing his 1/8 round by technical superiority to Kazakhstan’s Amangali Bekbolatov in the 55kg category.
In the 87kg, Sunil won his Qualification round 8-4 against Khalis Salah Mohammed Ghilmanou from France but lost his 1/8 round 0-5 to Daniel Gregorich Hechavarria from Cuba.
However, he still has a chance to reach the medal round since the Cuban has made it to the final.
Also exiting from the championship was Ravi Sharma, who was blanked 0-8 by Norway’s Oskar Marvik in the 130kg.
There was huge disappointment in store for Ranjeet, who could not ever get on to the plane to Bucharest because of visa problems.
In the inaugural edition last year in Bydgoszc (Poland), India had returned with three silver medals.
Bajrang Punia and Vinod Omprakash had won in the men’s freestyle while Ritu Phogat in the women’s event.