Despite broken rib, Tasmuradov won fifth Asian Championships gold at New Delhi

By   - 28/02/2020

Despite a broken rib two weeks before the Asian Wrestling Championships kicked off in New Delhi, the 2019 Asian Championships silver medallist Elmurat Tasmuradov had put aside the pain to secure his fifth gold in the 63kg Greco-Roman discipline.

“It’s still healing,” Tasmuradov said after demolishing Korean Song Jinseub in the Greco-Roman 63kg final on the opening day of this year’s continental tournament in New Delhi.

On the win, he said, “I wanted to go for a fall so that I wouldn’t have to do the par-terre.”

Tasmuradov was not able to secure a fall though but managed to win the match 9-0 on technical superiority in 1:33 that included a big 4-point lift. It was his seventh medal in an Asian tournament.

With a title win despite a broken rib, Tasmuradov has established he is a force to reckon with at the Olympics. The Uzbek will be shifting to the 60kg for the Tokyo Summer Games. He will be gunning his chances for a podium finish against the likes of Japan’s Kenichiro Fumita, Russia’ Sergey Emelin, Iran’s Alireza Nejati

The 2016 Olympic bronze medallist will have to play extremely well to change the colour of his medal in the Tokyo games.

At the recently concluded Asian Championships, Tasmuradov was back at his regular weight at 63kg, where he said it felt more “comfortable,” after qualifying for this year’s Tokyo Olympics at 60kg by placing fifth at last year’s World Championships in Nur-Sultan.

The 2018 world silver medalist said missing out on a medal in Nur-Sultan was irrelevant, given that he achieved what he had set out to do.

“I planned to go and just qualify for Tokyo,” he said. “I didn’t aim to take a medal, because I’m not a young wrestler. So I went to just qualify and I did it.”

Asked to comment on earning his fifth Asian gold in the Indian capital, site of his first title in 2013 with a last-second win over Iranian Abdol PAPI, he replied, “I don’t feel anything,” he said. “My mind is just at the Tokyo Olympics.”

Tasmuradov lost a shot at winning his fifth title last May in Xi’an, China, when he suffered a severe back injury and had to default in the final to TUO Erbatu of China. The fact that he continued to wrestle until the pain became so intense he had to be helped off the mat showed the tenacity that has made him so successful – and allows him to shrug off a mere broken rib.

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