Wrestlers add to India’s Gold rush; Overall medal tally goes to 59

RSTV Bureau

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There was no stopping the gold rush in wrestling as two more were added to the tally on Saturday by Vinesh Phogat (50kg) and Sumit (125kg) but Olympic bronze-medallist Sakshi Malik (62kg) had to be content with a third place finish in the Commonwealth Games on Saturday.

Adding another bronze to the count today was Somveer, in the 86kg category. India’s overall tally now stands at 59 with 25 Gold, 16 Silver and 18 Bronze mdals.

India signed off their wrestling campaign at the Games with five gold, three silver and four bronze medals. The overall count was one less than the medals achieved in the 2014 edition of the Games but India kept its gold medal count at five, the number achieved the last time.

The weight categories of both Sakshi and Vinesh were competed on a round-robin format as the number of competitors in the draw were less than six.

“I am so disappointed, I should have won a gold medal and I have to settle for a bronze. It will be another four years before I can make this right. I could not get what I expected of myself,” Sakshi said.

“I had a bad second bout because I thought I was winning till the last few seconds but then I lost and it destroyed my composure, I could never recover from that,” she said referring to her defeat at the hands of Canadian Michelle Fazzari, the final scoreline read 8-11.

However, Vinesh continued her tremendous comeback to big-ticket wrestling. The 23-year-old, who had sustained a career-threatening injury during the Rio Olympics, was in complete control of proceedings from her first bout.

“It was a tough fight as Jessica Macdonald is a world champion, but I am glad I lived up to the challenge. I have been waiting for this moment for four years, to lift my flag and listen to my national anthem being played,” she said.

“When I saw Neeraj take the gold in javelin throw, I felt very inspired and wanted to claim one for myself,” she added.

Sumit, on the other hand, competed in thee bouts but didn’t have to fight it out in the gold medal bout after his Nigerian rival Sinivie Boltic pulled out of the bout citing an injury sustained earlier in the day.

Later, in the last India bout of the day Somveer ensured that it ended on a bright note for India as he clinched the 86kg category bronze. Somveer rallied from a 1-3 deficit to defeat Canadian Alexander Moore in the play-off bout.

“In my bronze medal bout, I was very distracted due to my loss to Muhammad Inam of Pakistan. The intense rivalry between India and Pakistan in sports was constantly on my mind,” he said.
“I am disappointed, ashamed, that an Indian was defeated by a Pakistani today and it had to be me,” he added.

Earlier, double Olympic-medallist Sushil Kumar, Rahul Aware and Bajrang Punia had picked up gold medals for India on the first two days of the competition.

(With inputs from PTI)