Gold Coast (Australia), April 12 (IANS) Star Indian wrestlers Sushil Kumar and Rahul Aware won gold in their respective categories at the 21st Commonwealth Games (CWG), while women grapplers also finished among the medals here on Thursday.
Sushil defended his crown in the men’s 74 kilogram category which he had won at the 2014 edition in Glasgow, Scotland.
Sushil needed just 80 seconds to overpower Johannes Botha of South Africa by technical superiority in the final. Bouts are awarded on the basis of technical superiority when a wrestler takes a lead of 10 or more points.
Sushil thus won gold at the CWG for the third consecutive time. He had won gold in the now disbanded 66kg category at the 2010 edition in New Delhi before winning the 74kg title at the 2014 CWG in Glasgow, Scotland.
Aware, who was appearing in his first CWG, won gold in the men’s 57 kilogram category in style. The Maharashtra wrestler outclassed Steven Takahashi of Canada 15-7 in the final.
The women wrestlers added to the Indian medals tally with Babita Kumari taking silver in the 53kg category while Kiran bagged bronze in the 76kg division.
Botha was no match for Sushil, who pulled off a four-point move in the opening seconds of the first round.
The veteran Indian star then executed a series of two-point moves which gave him a 10-0 lead and the gold.
The defending champion had overpowered Jevon Balfour of Canada by technical superiority to enter the quarter-finals.
Another technical superiority verdict over Muhammad Asad Butt of Pakistan propelled him into the semi-finals where he overpowered Australia’s Connor Evans by fall in the very first round.
In the men’s 57kg final, Aware was dominant right from the start, pulling off three two-points moves in the first round.
Although the Canadian showed excellent technical prowess with a four-point move, it was enough to prevent Aware from taking a two-point lead into the break.
The Maharashtra wrestler showed his true class in the second round. He had increased his lead by one point in the initial stages before the Canadian scored three points to reduce the gap.
Aware however, made an ankle hold to execute the classic ‘fitlay’ move which saw rack up eight consecutive points.
That gave him a virtually insurmountable eight-point lead which proved too much for Steven to surmount.
Aware did well to qualify for the summit clash in comprehensive fashion.
He did face some trouble from a spirited Muhammed Bilal of Pakistan in the semi-finals before clinching a thrilling 12-8 victory. Aware’s semi-final turned out to be a thrilling contest at Bilal came up with a spirited performance.
The Pakistani attacked right from the start but the Indian pulled off an effective counter-attack to take a 3-0 lead. Bilal continued to attack and managed a takedown which earned him two points.
Bilal displayed some excellent counter wrestling techniques to draw level at 4-4 early in the second round.
But the jubilation in the Pakistan camp did not last long as Aware pulled off a takedown before managing an ankle hold and to roll Bilal over several times for a 10-4 lead.
Bilal continued to fight and reduced the gap by two points with a single leg hold.
Aware bolstered his lead with another two-point move and although Bilal managed to score yet again with around 30 seconds to go, the Indian earned another couple of points in the final few seconds.
Earlier, Aware started his campaign by overpowering George Ramm of England and Australia’s Thomas Cichhini by technical superiority.
In the round of 16, Aware powered his way to an 11-0 lead over the English wrestler early in the second round which prompted the judges to award him the bout.
Aware took a 1-0 lead early in the opening period before a takedown earned him another two points towards the end of the round.
The Indian managed an ankle hold on his opponent right at the start of the second round. He then applied the ‘fitley’ move to roll Ramm over several times and rack up the winning points.
The Indian was even more impressive in the quarter-finals, outclassing Cichhini in the first round.
He brought down the Australian and turned him over for a 4-0 lead in the first minute. He continued to dominate proceedings to notch up a one-sided victory.
In the women’s section, Babita lost 2-5 to Canada’s Diana Weicker in her last round robin match which put paid to her chances of winning gold.
Weicker won gold while Bose Samuel of Nigeria got the bronze.
Weicker forced the early advantage by taking a 1-0 lead in the first round. Although Babita managed to execute a two-point in the second round, the Canadian notched up four more points to wrap up a comfortable win.
Earlier, Babita started off by defeating Samuel in her opening bout. Babita shook off a strong start by the Nigerian to clinch a 3-1 win.
Samuel had taken the early lead but Babita pulled off a two-point move to put her nose ahead. She earned another point with a take down to bolster her lead.
Babita was even more dominant in her next bout, defeating Sri Lanka’s Deepika Dilhani by fall early in the first period.
The Haryana wrestler was too good for Carissa Holland of Australia as well, clinching another victory by fall to enter the final.
Later in the day, Kiran outclassed Katouskia Pariadhaven of Mauritius by technical superiority for the bronze medal.
Kiran had built up a 10-0 lead in the first period itself which promped the officials to award her the bout.
Canada’s Erica Wiebe emerged champion in the category while Blessing Onyebuchi of Nigeria got the silver.
Kiran had lost to Blessing in the semi-finals. Kiran was no match for the Nigerian, conceding a 0-10 deficit in the first round itself to lose by technical superiority.
Kiran had started her campaign by defeating Danielle Sino Guemde of Cameroon by technical superiority.
She taken a 4-1 lead in the first round before scoring seven consecutive points in the second to wrap up the victory.