Rahul Aware takes the bronze while India enjoys the best show in the World Wrestling Championship
NUR-SULTAN (Kazakhstan): Rahul Aware won the biggest medal of his career by bagging a bronze while he was injured Deepak Punia settled for a silver after retiring from the final when India celebrated its best performance in the World Wrestling Championship on Sunday.
Conscious overcome Tyler Lee Graff , the 2017 Pan American champion, 11-4 in the 61 kg bronze tie to bring the Indian account to five medals.
Deepak, the current youth world champion did not stand against the great Iranian Hasan Yazdani due to an ankle injury, which he suffered during the semifinal.
The other medal winners in this edition are Bajrang Punia , Ravi Dahiya and Vinesh Phogat.
India's best previous show was in the 2013 edition, when the country had won three medals through Amit Dahiya (silver), Bajrang Punia (bronze) and Sandeep Tulsi Yadav (bronze in greco-roman)
Winning the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games 2018 was the best Aware performance of 27 years before.
I could have won a gold. I was within reach. I could have won that semifinal (against Beka Lomtadze). I ruined it in the first period, Aware told PTI.
Aware was promising when he won bronze medals at the Asian Championship in 2009 and 2011, but suddenly disappeared from the scene after that.
The injuries brought me back. I was ready in 2014, but then there was no evidence for the CWG or the Asian Games. So I didn't have the opportunity to prove myself, he argued.
I was afraid of missing this opportunity. After a long time, something good was waiting for me and I was really afraid of losing it. I'm glad I did it, Aware breathed a sigh of relief.
The fight in recent times has been a sport dominated by fighters from Haryana and Aware is the first of Maharashtra to win a high-level world medal.
But Maratha's sports history will remind me of winning this medal. I am the first in that region to do this, he said and added that he would dedicate his medal to his first coach, the late Harichander Brajdar.
For the record, the best fighter in Maharashtrian is undoubtedly the late KD Jadhav, who won the first independent individual medal of India, a bronze at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.
Aware, who now trains under Kaka Pawar in Pune, said he was under a lot of self-imposed pressure when entering combat. The American surprised Aware with a double-leg attack, at the time the match began and won two points with a takedown.
However, he became alert and withdrew twice from Graff's right leg attacks. He also scored consecutive demolition points to lead 4-2 at the break.
Also in the second period, Graff grabbed Aware's right leg, but the Indian came out of trouble in an impressive way.
Then he turned the fight away from the American with a series of moves, takedowns and exposure, taking a dominant advantage of 10-2. It consolidated further when the American lost a challenge. He finally won 11-4.
The morning of the last day of the championship brought the news that Deepak will not be able to compete in the final on Sunday.
The left foot does not support the load. It is difficult to fight in this condition and could have aggravated the injury. I know it was a great opportunity to fight Yazdani, but I can't help it, Deepak told PTI.
Deepak had limped off the carpet and his right eye was swollen after his semifinal against the Swiss Stefan Reichmuth.
It was a good draw for Deepak and he exploded it to get the biggest medal of his career.
In a dream run, Deepak reached the final with wins over Reichmuth, Colombia's Carlos Arturo Mendez and Kazakhstan's Adilet Davlumbayev. He became only the fifth Indian ever to reach the World Championship final after Bishamber Singh (1967) Sushil Kumar (2010), Amit Dahiya (2013) and Bajrang Punia (2018). Only last month he had won the junior world championship.
Sushil Kumar remains the only world champion in India. He had won a gold in 2010 in Moscow.