Pritam emerges surprise champion in tough 74kg competition

Gonda (Uttar Pradesh), Nov 13 (PTI) Railways’ Pritam emerged a surprise champion in the highly-competitive 74kg category ahead of talented junior Yash while Narsingh Pancham Yadav also put up a spirited show to win bronze at the National Wrestling Championship here on Saturday.

While Narsingh has made a comeback to competitive wrestling recently after completing a four-year dope ban, Amit Dhankar and Yash were the most talked-about in this weight division.

But it was the 25-year-old Pritam who wreaked havoc on the draw by winning two of his bouts by fall and two by technical superiority.

Even in the final, he did not concede a single point, winning 11-0 against Yash, who recently won a bronze at the junior world championship and is making a transition to the senior circuit.

Pritam dominated his bouts with his aggression and tremendous control. He knew exactly what was required to win.

“It’s good that I stayed an underdog, otherwise, I would have also fallen on that side,” Pritam laughed after grabbing his first gold medal at the senior nationals in his fourth attempt.

“I had prepared hard this year and I was confident that I will emerge champion. Amit Dhankar is a very strong and a veteran wrestler but I have clashed with him in the past and beaten him, so I knew what I needed to do,” Pritam, who trains with Ranbhir Dhaka in Rohtak, said.

It was Yash who ended Narsingh’s title hopes with a 11-7 win in a fast-paced semifinal.

Narsingh lost the last-four bout after winning a match that was worth a title clash as he edged out an equally strong and experienced Dhankar 7-6.

The match was full of drama and excitement as Narsingh’s defence and dodge moves were a treat to watch.

It was Amit who got on board with a take-down move. Narsingh drew parity with a two-point throw near the circle. Narsingh twice effected doge moves as he went for leg attack but got up and quickly moved behind Amit for another take-down to lead 6-2.

Dhankar got a push-out point and a left-leg attack got him two more. With just 30 seconds to go, Narsingh had a slender 6-5 lead. The two wrestlers went all out amid loud cheers from the crowd.

Dhankar seemed to have effected a roll for two points and also a push-out point but the referee did not give any.

Dhankar’s corner protested and succeeded in getting a push-out point, making it 6-6. Narsingh was ahead on criteria and just needed to defend for 11 more seconds. Dhankar desperately looked for a take-down but the Maharashtra wrestler managed to defend.

In the absence of elite wrestlers Bajrang Punia and Ravi Dahiya, not much competition or talent could be seen in 65kg and 57kg categories.

Expectedly Rohit took home the 65kg title after reversing a 0-4 deficit to pin Sharwan.

The 57kg gold was taken by Aman who outplayed Abhishek with a technical superiority win.

The tightly-contested 79kg final was won by junior world championship bronze winner Gourav Balian, who beat Jitender Kinha 5-3.

Vicky emerged champion in the 92kg with a win over Monu Dahiya while Shivraj won the gold in the 125kg category with a 3-1 win over Mohit.

Services grabbed the freestyle team title while Railways were runners-up and Haryana finished third.