Abhimanyu entered the bronze-medal playoff but other Indian free-style wrestlers had a disappointing day at the World Championships in Belgrade on Sunday. Abhimanyu entered the 70kg medal round through the repechage route. Abhimanyu, who had lost in the quarterfinal on Saturday, got a lifeline when the American grappler Zain Allen Retherford, who had defeated him in the last-eight, made the final. The repechage comes into effect for wrestlers who lose in the pre-quarterfinals or later. It allows the wrestlers a chance to revive themselves in the competition if the opponent they have lost to reaches the final.
In the repechage round, Abhimanyu defeated Tajikistan’s Mustafo Akhmedov 3-1 to secure a spot in the bronze-medal round. He will face Armenian Arman Andreasyan.
However, Abhimanyu cannot secure a 2024 Paris quota place for the country as the 70kg division is not an Olympic weight category.
Pruthviraj, in 92kg category, defeated Moldovan grappler Ion Demian 6-4 in the qualification bout before returning on the mat to defeat eighth-seeded Ermak Kardanov of Slovakia 6-1 in the pre-quarterfinal.
The world No. 12 Pruthviraj, however, lost 0-3 to Georgian wrestler Miriani Maisuradze in the quarterfinals in the non-Olympic category.
Maisuradze later lost 1-8 to Kazakhstan’s Rizabek Aitmukhan in the semifinals.
In the 79kg non-Olympic category, India’s top wrestler Sachin Mor beat Mexican Raul Israel Dominguez 8-3 in the opening round before going down to lower-ranked Akhmed Usmanov, competing as a neutral athlete, who won on technical superiority.
Aman Sehrawat, who had asserted his supremacy in the men’s 57kg free-style category during the national trials to clinch the World Championships berth, earned a ‘victory by superiority’ (VSU) against Moldovan Igor Chichioi 11-0 in the first round before losing to world No.2 from Albania Zelimkhan Abakarov 11-0.
Sehrawat could get another opportunity to enter the bronze-medal round via the repechage route. If that happens he could also win a ticket to Paris as 57kg is an Olympic category.
In 74kg, an Olympic category, 14th seeded Naveen got the better of Tobias Portmann of Switzerland 12-6 in the opening round but lost the next match to the lower-ranked Arsalan Budazhapov of Kyrgyzstan 6-4.