Johannesburg: Olympic medallists Sushil Kumar and Sakshi Malik clinched gold medals at the Commonwealth Wrestling Championships in Johannesburg on Sunday.
Making a return to the sport after a gap of three years, the 34-year-old defeated New Zealand’s Akash Khullar in the final of the 74kg category to win the gold-his first medal in international wrestling since his 2014 Commonwealth Games gold. Parveen Rana won the bronze medal in this category.
Rio Olympics bronze medalist Sakshi Malik won the gold after beating Tayla Tuahine Ford of New Zealand by a score of 13-2 in the final of the 62 kg category at the Championships.
Sushil had won the gold when he made his return to competitive wrestling at the Senior national championship in Indore last month. However, the win was controversial as he got the gold after getting three walkovers from fellow wrestlers.
Interestingly, Rana was one of them who had given a walkover to Sushil in the title clash but this time the duo faced each other where the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist emerged victorious with a 5-4 margin.
Sushil also defeated Johannes Petrus Botha of South Africa 8-0 in his first bout after which he got the better of his fellow countryman Rana. He also defeated Jasmit Singh Phulka of Canada en route to his gold.
The 2012 London Olympics silver medalist dedicated the win to his country and coach.
“”It’s a very proud and emotional moment for me as I have returned to the mat on international level after a gap of 3years. I want to dedicate this Gold medal won in #Commonwealthwrestlingchampionship at #SouthAfrica to my guru and to my Nation. JaiHind????,” he tweeted.
After the gold in the nationals, Sushil resigned as the National Observer for wrestling after Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore had said that active sportspeople wouldn’t be considered for the job.
Utkarsh Kale (57kg), Sharvan (61kg), Bajrang (65kg), Amit Dhankar (70kg), Jitender (79kg), Deepak (86kg), Somveer (92kg), Rubaljeet Singh (97kg) and Hitender (125kg), Rahul Aware (61kg), Arun Kumar (70kg), Praveen Rana (74kg), Veer Dev Gulia (79kg), Pawan Kumar (86kg), Mausam Khatri (97kg) and Sumit (125kg) won silver medals, while the bronze medals went to Sonu (65kg) and Azrudeen (92kg) won the other gold medals for India in the freestyle category on Sunday.