Indians prove wrestling prowess
03 August 2002
Canada and India held their own private Commonwealth Games duel on Saturday evening, with India coming out on top.
Kirschner of Canada takes silver medal
Each of the four weight category finals were contested by wrestlers from the two nations, with the Indians winning three golds to Canada’s one.
In the 55kg category, 2001 World Junior Champion Krishan Kumar of India showed he has the power to go all the way to the top of the senior scene, too, defeating the powerful Canadian Mikheil Japaridze to win the first wrestling gold of the Manchester Commonwealth Games.
Japaridze said afterwards: “It feels very good to have a silver medal. I was thinking I might be able to get the gold but he was too strong for me. I had a foot injury so I was not 100 per cent which is why I stopped for a little time in the fight.”
South Africa’s Shaun Williams took bronze after achieving Technical Superiority over Jacob Isaac of Nigeria.
Williams was optimistic about the effect the medal would have back in his homeland: “Wrestling in a small sport in my country but I definitely think there are enough people interested to enable us to produce more champions, especially in Commonwealth competition. Hopefully my achievement will produce more exposure and money for the sport.”
It was India who struck gold again in the 66kg final. Despite struggling with a leg injury through the latter stages, Ramesh Kumar pipped Canadian Neal Ewers in a closely fought match.
Nigeria were once again involved in the bronze medal contest, and Fred Jessey of Nigeria went one better than compatriot Isaac by beating New Zealand’s Ricardo Aryan to take third place.
Veteran, Aryan said: “I didn’t have enough competition before coming into the Commonwealth Games, so I just wasn’t tough enough.”
“I knew it was going to be hard, basically I stopped wrestling ten years ago and only started again just before the 2000 Olympic Games. I didn’t qualify for the Olympics, but I continued to train for this competition.”
Canada struck back in the 84kg competition, with double Canadian National Champion Nicolas Ugoalah ending a closely fought contest with a well executed pin seconds into overtime against India’s Anuj Kumar.
The host nation’s sole representative in the finals, Jatinder Singh from England was unable to prevent Sinivie Boltic earning a second Nigerian bronze on the night.
Palwinder Singh Cheema from India was in control throughout the 120kg final, and defeated Eric Kirschner of Canada by Technical Superiority.
Cheema commented: “I was confident coming into the competition that I would bring gold back to India. I am very pleased to have achieved my aim and this success is down to my coach Stanislav Haslo from Belarus.”
In the bronze medal final, Scotland’s Douglas Thomson, whose pre-match preparations had been disturbed by the arrival of a new baby boy at 3:00am on Saturday, lost out to Australia’s Mushtaq Rasem Abdullah.
Info News Service/tb/sdb