World Wrestling Championship Throwback: India’s history at biggest wrestling event of the world

By   - 13/09/2019

The world is ready for the UWW Senior World Wrestling Championship in Kazakhstan and so is the 30 members strong Indian wrestling team. The question on every Indian wrestling fan lips is – will India better their 2018 medal tally of 2 medals ?? Can Indian win the elusive Gold Medal ?? The medal which is slipping out of Indian wrestlers grip since 2010, the one and only time when Indian wrestling great Sushil Kumar brought the gold back home.

Indian wrestling is improving by the day but the record at the greatest and the biggest show of wrestling is below par till date as India has won only one gold ever at the world championship, no Indian women has ever won a silver or a gold medal at this mega event.
Indian wrestlers won two medals at the last world championship at Budapest in 2018 courtesy Bajrang Punia’s Silver medal & Pooja Dhanda’s bronze medal in the 57kg weight category.


India’s record at the World Wrestling Championship

Only GOLD MEDAL – Sushil Kumar 2010

In 2010, Sushil had beaten Alan Gogaev of Russia 3-1 in straight rounds in the final of the 66 kg freestyle category at the Olympiyskiy Sports Centre in Moscow. It was a triumph built on the Indian wrestler’s trademark power moves. He went on the offensive from the beginning, using his leg take-down moves to unsettle the technically sound Russian. Beating strong Russian Wrestler at his own home was nothing less than miracle by great Sushil Kumar. Sushil’s magic and supreme power brought India’s only Gold Medal ever won by an Indian at the World Championship. Sushil will be once again seen in the action at 2019 World Championship – but that magic of Moscow will be difficult to repeat. 

Silver Medals – 3 Indians but no women

In 2018, Bajrang Punia’s bid to become only the second Indian to win a gold medal at the World Championship fell flat as a tactically superior Takuto Otoguro stunned the Indian in the 65kg final at Budapest. Only the fourth Indian ever to make it to the World Championship gold medal match, the 24-year-old Bajrang was rattled by the 19-year old Otoguro, who consistently attacked the left leg of Indian and emerged a comfortable 16-9 winner. He became Japan’s youngest World Champion at the age of 19. Despite his loss, Bajrang became the first Indian wrestler to win two medals at the senior world championships as he had won a bronze medal at the 2013 worlds in the same city.

This time, Bajrang returns as the top-ranked wrestler in his category and he will be looking to go one better.

In 2013 Amit Kumar Dahiya won the silver medal at the World Championships. The 19-year-old Amit lost out to Iranian Rahimi Hassan Farma, whom he had defeated at the London Olympics in 2012, 1-2 in the 55kg gold medal bout A knee injury put him out of action soon after that and he hasn’t managed to achieve the highs in his career that many thought he would.

There has been one other silver medallist – Bishambar Ali Singh, who was also the first Indian to win silver. He made the final against Ali Aliyev of Soviet Union in the men’s freestyle 57kg category in New Delhi in 1967 – the only time India has hosted the event. Aliyev was the defending champion, having won the title in Toledo in the 57 kg category and he was also a three-time champion in the 52kg category. He proved to be too strong for the Indian but Singh was the only Indian athlete to make it to the podium then. No Indian women ever has been able to make the final round of World Wrestling Championship.


Bronze Medals – Nine Bronze Medallists over the years

Indian Medal Winners – Here is the list of Indian Medal winners at all three events of World Wrestling Championship till 2018.

2010 Sushil Kumar Men’s FS 66 Kg

1967 Bishambar Singh Men’s FS 57 Kg
2013 Amit Kumar Dahiya Men’s FS 55 Kg
2018 Bajrang Punia Men’s FS 65 Kg

2015 Narsingh Pancham Yadav Men’s FS 74 Kg
2018 Pooja Dhanda Women’s FS 57 Kg
2013 Sandeep Tulsi Yadav Men’s GR 66 Kg
2013 Bajrang Punia Men’s FS 60 Kg
2012 Geeta Phoga Women’s FS 55 Kg
2012 Babita Kumari Women’s FS 51 Kg
2009 Ramesh Kumar Men’s FS 74 Kg
2006 Alka Tomar Women’s FS 59 Kg
1961 Udey Chand Men’s FS 67 Kg

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