Amit Kumar- World champ, almost
Before leaving for Budapest, the venue for the 2013 World Championships, wrestler Amit Kumar had announced that he would return with a medal. On Monday, while listening to last-minute instructions from his coach Virender Kumar ahead of the final, the 20-year-old repeated those words, narrowing his target to the gold medal.
But he couldn't repeat his mentor Sushil Kumar's feat of winning a gold at the Worlds. Instead he settled for silver after he lost the 55kg final 2-1 against Iran's Hassan Farman Rahimi.
The key instruction from Virender and India's chief coach Vinod Kumar to the Sonepat wrestler was to stay compact and not become too attack-minded. Amit had fought Rahimi a number of times in the past, the last being at the pre-quarterfinals stage of the London Olympics, where Amit won. The coaches thought he would have to be more careful, since his opponent now knew his style well.
A point late in the first period threw all calculations out of the window.
Amit was leading the bout after being awarded a point for the Iranian's repeated offence of staying passive and thrashing at the Indian. But the Iranian staged a comeback and he employed a leg hold to carry Amit out of the mat. Had the bout ended here, the Iranian would have been declared the winner as the rule book awards the round to the wrestler who wins the last point in a period.
Desperate to win the point and retain his edge in the final, Amit's lunges only made matters worse as he conceded a caution point late in the second period. The match ended 2-1 in the Iranian's favour.
"He had said he would win a medal, and he did that," Virender told The Indian Express said after the match. "The bout had not one interesting move by either of the wrestlers as the referee was all over them. Gold would have been great, but we will settle for silver."