Wrestlers set several new milestones in the tournament.
The recently concluded Asian Wrestling Championship proved to be a success for Indian wrestlers. Owing to various reasons, it was a memorable tournament, not only for India but for others as well.
For many wrestlers, this was the perfect platform to test their mettle ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. Here are the five records that were created at the event:
5. Almaty becomes only third city to host event at least thrice
The former capital of Kazakhstan became only the third city to host the Asian Wrestling Championship at least thrice.
Almaty follows in the footsteps of New Delhi and Tehran. The Indian capital has hosted the event on a record six occasions. Meanwhile, Tehran has played host five times. Almaty previously hosted the tournament in 2004 and 2006. The host nation had a memorable tournament with several wrestlers stepping up to the occasion.
Kazakhstan finished level with Iran at the top of the pile. They won seven Gold, five Silver and five Bronze medals. The Kazakh wrestlers certainly showed their mettle on home turf, at the Baluan Sholak Palace of Culture and Sports.
4. India becomes 7th country to reach the 200-medals mark
This was the 34th edition of the Asian Wrestling Championship, with India becoming only the seventh country in the history of the tournament to claim more than 200 medals.
India won five Gold, three Silver and six Bronze medals to finish the competition with a cumulative of 14 medals. Prior to the event, India had a total of 190 medals with the latest additions taking the nation’s tally to 204. Overall, the country has managed to win 23 Gold, 70 Silver and 111 Bronze medals over the years. Only Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, China and Mongolia have more medals than India.
3. Mongolia ends Japan-China dominance to win team title
No country had managed to win the team title other than Japan and China since the introduction of the women’s freestyle category in the Asian Wrestling Championship in 1996. Mongolia finally broke their duopoly at the recently concluded tournament.
The Japanese women’s team withdrew just before flying to Almaty after suspected exposure to someone infected with coronavirus. Meanwhile, the Chinese women’s team couldn’t participate because they had to undergo coronavirus testing arranged by the Chinese embassy.
India won four Gold, one Silver and two Bronze medals across the women’s categories. However, Mongolia finished with a better points tally. Having seen her compatriots secure one Gold, four Silver and one Bronze medal, Mongolia’s Bolortungalag Zorigt faced Sakshi Malik in the 65kg final.
A win would have propelled India above their Mongolian counterparts on total points accumulated, but Zorigt thwarted Malik with a first period fall for a shock win. That win ensured Mongolia edged India 173-168 and ended the Japan-China stranglehold in women’s freestyle wrestling at the Asian Championship.
2. Hassan Yazdani wins gold without giving up a single point
Reigning Olympic and world champion, Iran’s Hassan Yazdani, proved once again that he is in a class by himself. He participated in the Asian Wrestling Championship for only the second time in his career, with a view to preparing for a second straight Olympic gold medal in Tokyo.
The 26-year-old faced Japan’s Hayato Ishiguro in the quarterfinals outclassing him 10-0 to move into the next round. The Iranian was up against Iraq’s Mustafa Abdul Basit and once again it was a cakewalk for him, as he won by a margin of 10-0. In the final, he schooled India’s Deepak Punia in the pair’s first-ever meeting. Yet again, Yazdani triumphed 10-0 and won the match by technical superiority.
Yazdani, who is nicknamed “The Greatest,” virtually romped his way to take the 86kg gold medal. In doing so, he didn’t give up a solitary point and won all the matches by technical superiority. The man is truly in a league of his own!
1. Sarita Mor becomes first two-time women’s champion from India
Sarita Mor defended her 59kg crown to become the first Indian woman in history to win a second Asian Championship gold medal. A day later, Divya Kakran matched her feat by winning gold in the 72kg event. Trailing 1-7, Sarita rallied to a 10-7 victory in the final over Mongolia’s Shoovdor Baatarjav.
Mor had started the tournament with a tough 4-5 loss against Baatarjav, but bounced back in stunning fashion by recording back-to-back technical superiority wins over Diana Kayumova of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyz Republic’s Nuraida Anarkulova. The 26-year-old from Sonipat, Haryana created history by replicating her Gold medal win a year earlier in New Delhi.