NEW DELHI: Amit Kumar was always tipped to be Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt’s successor. Sushil himself pointed at the youngster during the London Games last year and gave him the tag of the “next star of Indian wrestling”. He knew what he was saying and Amit knew he had to justify those words.
The 19-year-old boy from Nahri (near Sonipat in Haryana) did just that on Monday evening, winning the silver medal at the Papp Laszlo arena in Budapest in the 55kg category of the World wrestling championships.
The Asian Championship (2012) bronze medallist lost 1-2 against the more experienced Iranian Hassan Farman Rahimi – 2011 World bronze winner – after taking the first point.
Amit emulated Bishamber Singh who had won silver in World freestyle wrestling championship in Delhi. Sushil Kumar is the only Indian to have won a World gold – he achieved that feat in Moscow in 2010. “There hasn’t been any testing bout till now. Let’s see how the semifinal match shapes up,” Amit had told TOI from Budapest after advancing to the semis.
The semifinal encounter was no different. The Asian junior gold medallist destroyed his Turkish opponent Sezar Akgul in less than two minutes. The world No. 4 beat 2009 World Championship silver medallist 8-0 in a one-sided bout. The Sonipat grappler opened his campaign against 2010 Moscow World Championship bronze medallist Japan’s Yasuhiro Inaba. Undeterred by his opponent’s past record, Amit outclassed the Japanese 10-2. Up next for the Indian was France’s Zoheir el Ouarraque. The latter failed to make an impact as the 19-year-old Indian cruised 8-0 on technical fall. The quarterfinal against USA’s Angel Alesm Escobedo was no different. Angel was penalized for “passivity” getting 30 seconds to score as per the new rule. But Amit was quick and bagged a point for caution and another point for pushout.
India’s Amit Kumar (red) during his bout against Japan’s Yasuhiro Ibana in the freestyle 55 kg category qualification round of the FILA World Wrestling Championships in Budapest on Monday. Kumar lost in the final to Hassan Rahimi of Iran.