It was a tale of two 19-year-olds on the first day of Wrestling Nationals as Sajan Bhanwal and Vijay dominated their field to win gold medals. Both won their respective matches in 77kg and 55 kg categories at the Senior Nationals on Friday.
At the Senior National Championships, a lot of senior wrestlers were expected to dominate their respective categories but, it was the youngsters who stole the limelight on the first day in Nawabjang, Gonda.
In the 10 Greco-Roman weight categories that were conducted, the youngsters were under the limelight, winning six gold medals out of the ten.
It began with Sajan Bhanwala winning the gold medal in the 77kg final by beating Krishan Kant Yadav of Bihar 8-0. He was the dark horse in his category but won his maiden gold medal at the senior level with some solid bouts.
“This is my first gold medal at the senior national and I have learnt a lot. Wrestling with the seniors makes you a stronger wrestler and this experience will help me a lot,” Sajan said after the bout.
Vijay secures gold
Moments later, another 19-year-old Vijay defeated Ravin in a thrilling bout in the 55kg final to win a gold medal, his first as well at the senior-level competition.
The Railways wrestler Sajan capped off a season which saw him rise through the ranks in Greco-Roman wrestling. Earlier in September, he became the first Indian wrestler to win consecutive medals at any world championships when he won a silver medal at the Junior event. In 2017, he had finished with a bronze medal.
Just two weeks back, he finished fifth at the senior U23 World Championships after losing his bronze medal bout 5-5.
“At the U23 Worlds I had defeated the European bronze medallist and later the Asian champion. I lost a close bout to Russia wrestler but that tournament was great for me. I wrestled most of the seniors of the European countries,” he said.
Vijay, a bronze medallist at the Junior World Championships this year, had to work harder for his gold as Ravin took the lead. After wins over Rohit Yadav of Railways, Rajinder of Jammu and Kashmir, Manjeet of Services and Pardeep of West Bengal, Vijay had an impressive run and deservedly finished with a gold.
Not just the gold medals, incidentally both Vijay and Sajan are two of the three Greco Roman wrestlers included in the central contracts announced by Wrestling Federation of India.
Glory for Railways
Railways claimed the team title after beating Services by three points. The defending champions finished with 176 points while Services had 173. Haryana finished third with 160 points.
Nitin of Railways won another gold for them in the 60kg category where he defeated Pankaj of Maharashtra 5-1 in the final. The bronze medals went to Manish of Haryana and Vikram Kurade of Railways-B.
Services’ Sagar kept his composure to win the gold medal in the 63kg weight category after beating Rajeet of Haryana 4-3. Suresh Yadav from Services-A and Sunil from Haryana-B took bronze medals.
In the heaviest category, Naveen outwitted Deepak Punia in the final, grabbing the title with a win by technical superiority.
In the 72kg final, SSCB’s Yogesh took the gold with a 2-1 win over RSPB’s Kuldeep Malik.