Sushil Kumar enters into the Final of 66Kg Wrestling Group
The 29-year-old Indian demolishedAkhzurek Tanatrov of Kazakhstan 3-1 in an engrossing semi-final contest to achieve the memorable feat and provide the late spark to India’s Olympic campaign.
Backed by vociferous Indian spectators, Sushil wrapped up the first period 3-0 in the high-voltage semi-final clash against Tanatrov but lost the second by an identical score.
In the crucial third round, the Indian was lagging 0-3 behind but he showed his class and strength to fight back and level the score after pegging him down by his legs with the vociferous Indian contingent egging him on.
With 34 seconds left, the Indian scored two more points to move to 5-3 and then, with just seconds left in the contest, he sealed his victory by lifting his rival on to his shoulders and throwing him down on the mat to win the third period 6-3 to enter the finals.
With just seconds of the contest remaining, Kumar sealed victory with a huge throw that saw him dump Tanatarov onto the mat. Now he will face Japan’s Tatsuhiro Yonemistu in the final later Sunday.
Kumar had a tough start to his London 2012 campaign, beating 2008 gold medallist Ramazan Sahin of Turkey 3-1.
There are no seedings in Olympic wrestling and the luck of the draw saw Kumar paired against fellow former world champion Sahin in the last 16.
In his quarter-final bout, Kumar overcame Uzbekistan’s Ikhtiyor Navruzov, also by a 3-1 margin, after surviving a spirited rally by his opponent with some quick counters and strong lifts.
Apart from Sushil’s assured silver, India have so far bagged one silver and four bronze medals in the 30th edition of the Games, surpassing the one gold and two bronze medals they won in Beijing four years ago.
Sushil, a bronze medallist in the Beijing Games and the flag bearer of the Indian contingent in London, kept his reputation intact with a stunning display of skill, stamina and power as he wriggled out of some difficult positions to fashion victories.