New Delhi, Feb 3 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh finally ended their drought of wrestling gold medals through Greco-Roman grapplers Arshad (46 kg), Anup Kumar (54kg) and Rahul (63kg) on the penultimate day of the wrestling competition at the inaugural Khelo India School Games here on Saturday.
On an action-packed day of closely-fought encounters, Arshad won that elusive wrestling gold for his state after he beat Maharashtra’s Rohan Bhosale in the final.
An Asian Cadet Wrestling gold medallist in a lower-weight category, Arshad was competing in the boy’s 46kg division for the first time and he defeated wrestlers superior to him in physical strength throughout his campaign.
Quick and nimble on his feet, the last few seconds of Arshad’s final bout saw him transform into a more attacking and aggressive combatant as he claimed a convincing victory over Bhosale.
Uttar Pradesh’s second gold came from Anup Kumar who vanquished Maharashtra’s Parth Kandare.
With a 5-1 lead after the first round, a loss was something Parth would have least expected. But he realised that no bout is won or lost on just the opening period as Anup Kumar turned the tables after the break.
“There was no alternative, I told myself. I had to win,” Anup said.
His team-mate Rahul maintained his lead despite sustaining a mid-match injury. He finished what was an overall perfect day for the State.
One of the biggest surprises of the day was the girls’ 52kg bronze medal match between Uttar Pradesh’s Sadhana Yadav and Delhi’s Shivani.
It saw a twist towards the end. With a four-point lead, Sadhana had a firm hold on the medal. But the Delhi girl was resilient and in one fantastic move, narrowed the lead.
There was no turning back from that stage for Shivani.
“I wanted to win this from the moment I stepped on to the mat,” said the youngster representing SKV Gokalpur Village. “There was a lot of pressure when I was trailing initially but I forgot about that. I just gave my 100 per cent,” she said.