Grappler Khatri wins bronze in men's freestyle | other | Hindustan Times
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Grappler Khatri wins bronze in men's freestyle

other Updated: Nov 25, 2010 20:38 IST

Mausam Khatri provided India with its first medal in freestyle wrestling in the Asian Games by overcoming Korea's Jaegang Kim to clinch the bronze in the 96 kg competition.

However, two other grapplers -- Rajeev Tomar (120kg) and Nirmala Devi (women's 48kg) crashed out after losing their first round bouts, here today at the Huagong Gymnasium.

Khatri secured the bronze after winning his repechage bout against Raja Akkarrad of Syria 3-1 that put him into the bronze medal bout against Korean Kim, which he won by the same margin to finish third.

Earlier, he lost his opening bout against Kazakhstan's Timuraz Tigiyev 1-3 before fighting his way back to the podium.

"I am extremely delighted that I was able to win a medal for my country. I will spare no effort for a better performance at the London Olympics," said Khatri who was omitted from the Commonwealth Games squad after testing positive for a banned drug in the run-up to the mega event at New Delh.

Team coach Sangha Singh praised Khatri for saving the freestyle men wrestlers from total ignominy by winning at least one medal.

"I am happy Khatri has won a bronze medal and made up for the others' failure after yesterday's bad day," he said.

Khatri fought well against the strong Korean opponent in the bronze medal fight.

Both scored a point each in the first period before the Indian scored two more in the next two minutes to clinch the medal.

Freestyle grapplers, who grabbed six medals for India that included a silver (in women's wrestling) four years back at Doha, had drawn a blank on the first day yesterday.

On Wednesday, Asian champion and Commonwealth Games gold medal winner Narsingh Yadav led a trio of freestyle exponents out of the Games.

Apart from Yadav (74kg), the others who bit the dust on the opening day were Pradeep Kumar (66kg) and Ram Vir (84kg), who lost in the semifinal and then the bronze medal bout.