The Greco-Roman bouts took center-stage after the conclusion of the freestyle matches.

The ongoing Junior World Wrestling Championships 2021 in Ufa, Russia saw a lot of action on Saturday. There were a few Indian men in action in the Greco-Roman bouts. On the other hand, freestyle matches saw India collect 11 medals – four silver and seven bronze.

The Indian contingent faced a disappointing day on Friday after losing out on two gold medals. Saneh also suffered a knee dislocation, which ended her dreams of a bronze medal.

Therefore, it was on the men again to uplift the mood in the Indian camp in the Greco-Roman category bouts. Narinder Cheema, Vikas, and Ravi Malik were representing Indian hopes of more medals. 

On the other hand Anup (55kg), Vikas (60kg), Anil (63kg), Deepak (67kg), Sonu (87kg), and Parvesh (130kg) all lost their opening matches. 

The Greco-Roman category remains the Achilles heel for India in international tournaments. This style of wrestling prohibits the use of legs and the grapplers must use their upper body to score points. Here is how the Saturday’s action played out.

Vikas – 72kg

The youngster began the day with a positive result against Jamol Jumabaev of Uzbekistan. He defeated Jumabaev by a 12-6 score to move to the pre-quarters. However, he conceded against Turkey’s Omer Can Dogan by a 0-9 score in the next round at the World Junior Wrestling Championships. The manner of defeat was particularly upsetting for the Indian grappler.

Narinder Cheema – 97kg

Cheema secured a win in his first bout of the day at the World Junior Wrestling Championships. He defeated Anton Erich Vieweg of Germany by a 6-5 score to move into the pre-quarters.

Later, Cheema was up against Uzbekistan’s Nurmukhammed. The bout was a close contest but the Indian emerged as the winner by 11-6 points. The quarter-final saw Cheema face Belarus’ Pavel Hlinchuk and lost to him by fall.

He has now advanced to the repechage rounds and must win two bouts on Sunday at the World Junior Wrestling Championships.

Ravi Malik – 82kg

Malik was the best performer on the day for India. He started the day with an easy 6-0 win over Estonia’s Robin Uspenski. The next bout against Zhenish Zhumabekov of Kyrgyzstan was a high-scoring affair. However, the Indian emerged victorious by a 18-9 score.

The semi-final against Karen Khachatryan of Armenia did not go according to plan. He lost the bout by 0-9 on technical superiority and will now contest for the bronze on Sunday at the World Junior Wrestling Championships. 

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