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Rajiv Tomar exits with early defeat

india Updated: Aug 21, 2008 10:56 IST

Apparently, Sushil Kumar's bronze medal winning effort did not have much of an effect on fellow wrestler Rajiv Tomar, who crashed out of the 120kg freestyle event of the Beijing Olympics with a comprehensive defeat in Beijing on Thursday.

The Indian grappler fought a slipshod qualifying round bout against Steve Mocco and the American hardly broke a sweat as he blanked Rajiv 4-0 to show him the exit door.

And if there was any hope of a Sushil-like turnaround, it went up in smoke with Mocco failing to reach the final.

The American lost his semifinal bout against Russian Bakhtiyar Akhmedov 1-3. Had Mocco reached the final, Rajiv would have played in the repechage and could have been in the hunt for a bronze medal.

Yesterday, Sushil too had lost his opening round bout against Andriy Stadnik but with the Ukrainian going on to reach the final -- where he lost the bout to settle for the silver -- the Indian was handed an opportunity to compete in repechage rounds.

Much to everyone's surprise, Sushil went on to win all his repechage round bouts to fetch India's second individual medal in the Beijing Olympics, following Abhinav Bindra's shooting gold.

Rajiv, however, was not equally lucky or plucky, for that matter and could not script a similar fairytale. Once he went down tamely to Mocco, his medal chances hinged more on providence than performance.

The American gauged Rajiv in the first period, which he led 1-0, before scoring three crucial technical points in the lop-sided second segment which was decisive.

Rajiv looked clueless against Mocco and Coach PR Sondhi was apparently unhappy with the grappler failing to execute his strategy.

"To be honest, this was a below-par show by Rajiv. Of course Mocco was superior of the two but I still feel Rajiv could have done better. We did not expect him to win but Rajiv did not try enough," Sondhi said.

"Mocco's defence was quite shaky but Rajiv did not attack him. I told him to go on the offence but he did not heed to my advice," rued a dejected Sondhi.

"Tactically speaking, Rajiv did not have a chance against him. He was always cornered and then Mocco came up with a well-executed plan in the second period and we knew it was all over.

"As it turned out, Mocco did not have much of a chance to reach semifinals anyway, and that means there was no repechage hope for Rajiv either," he added.