Indian wrestlers Rahul Aware and Sushil Kumar entered the finals of their respective categories in the men’s freestyle competition at the 21st Commonwealth Games (CWG) here on Thursday.
Aware, appearing in his first CWG in the men’s 57-kilogram category, did well to qualify for the summit clash in style.
He did face some trouble from a spirited Muhammed Bilal of Pakistan in the semi-finals before clinching a thrilling 12-8 victory. He will meet Steven Takahashi of Canada in the final. The Canadian defeated Ebikewenimo Welson of Nigeria in the other semi-final.
Aware’s semi-final was a thrilling contest at Bilal came up with a spirited performance.
The Pakistani attacked right from the start but the Indian pulled off an effective counter-attack to take a 3-0 lead. Bilal continued to attack and managed a takedown which earned him two points.
Bilal displayed some excellent counter wrestling techniques to draw level at 4-4 early in the second round.
But the jubilation in the Pakistan camp did not last long as Aware pulled off a takedown before managing an ankle hold and to roll Bilal over several times for a 10-4 lead.
Bilal continued to fight and reduced the gap by two points with a single leg hold.
Aware bolstered his lead with another two-point move and although Bilal managed to score yet again with around 30 seconds to go, the Indian earned another couple of points in the final few seconds.
Earlier, Aware started his campaign in comprehensive fashion, overpowering George Ramm of England and Australia’s Thomas Cichhini by technical superiority.
In the round of 16, Aware powered his way to an 11-0 lead over the English wrestler early in the second round which prompted the judges to award him the bout.
Aware took a 1-0 lead early in the opening period before a takedown earned him another two points towards the end of the round.
The Indian managed an ankle hold on his opponent right at the start of the second round. He then applied the ‘fitley’ move to roll Ramm over several times and rack up the winning points.
The Indian was even more impressive in the quarter-finals, outclassing Cichhini in the first round.
He brought down the Australian and turned him over for a 4-0 lead in the first minute. He continued to dominate proceedings to notch up a one-sided victory.
Meanwhile Sushil, the defending champion in the men’s 74kg freestyle category, overpowered Jevon Balfour of Canada by technical superiority to enter the quarter-finals.
Another technical superiority verdict over Muhammad Asad Butt of Pakistan propelled him into the semi-finals where he overpowered Australia’s Connor Evans by fall in the very first round.
Sushil thus entered the CWG final for the third consecutive time. He had won gold in the now disbanded 66kg category at the 2010 edition in New Delhi before winning the 74kg title at the 2014 CWG in Glasgow, Scotland.