Harpreet Singh fetched the first medal for India on the opening day of the Asian Wrestling Championship when he bagged a bronze in the Greco-Roman 80 kilogram category here on Wednesday.

Harpreet edged out Na Junjie of China 3-2 in the play-off for the bronze medal.

Harpreet made an excellent start to the bout and used his superior physical strength to wrest the upper hand early on. The judges made two passivity calls against the Chinese grappler which earned a point for the Indian.

But the scores were soon levelled when the judges appointed a passivity point against the local wrestler.

The Chinese tried to make a strong start to the second period, pushing Harpreet on to the back foot.

But just when it seemed that Na had managed to take the upper hand, the Indian turned the tables with a lightning quick take which earned him two points.

Harpreet dominated proceedings after that and although the Chinese tried hard to make a comeback, the Indian kept him at bay.

Ramin Soltanmorad of Iran clinched the gold by defeating Kim Junehyoung of South Korea 3-1 in the final.

In the other bronze medal play-off in the category, Samat Shirdakov of Kyrgyzstan and Danyal Gajiyev of Kazakhstan fought to a 2-2 stalemate. But Shirdakov was adjudged the winner had he was the last to score.

Earlier, Harpreet had made a promising start to his campaign with a hard fought 2-1 victory over Maeta Yuya of Japan in the qualification round.

But he ran into trouble in the quarter-finals as he was totally outclassed by the vastly superior technique and speed of Kim Junehyoung of South Korea and succumbed to a 0-8 defeat..

However, Harpreet got a chance to grapple for the bronze when Kim defeated Na 2-1 in the semi-finals to enter he summit clash.

The hosts however, missed out on a medal in the Greco-Roman 75kg category as Gurpreet Singh lost to Yang Bin of China by technical superiority .

Yang produced a takedown to take four points right at the start before pulling of consecutive flips to take a 8-0 and outperform the Punjab Police officer in just 38 seconds of the opening round.

A bout is awarded to a wrestler if he manages to take a lead of eight points or more.

Gurpreet had defeated Dilshodjon Turdiev of Uzbekistan 6-4 in the qualification round, but lost 6-8 to Kazakhstan’s Maxat Yerezhepov in the quarter-finals.

The Indian then defeat Burgo Beishaliev of Kyrgyzstan in the repechage round to earn a shot at a podium finish.

Bakhtovar Khasanov of Tajikistan took the other bronze medal in the weight category by technical after he opened up an 8-0 lead over Chen Yu-Ching of Chinese Taipei.

Maxat, who overpowered Yang 6-1 in the semi-finals, went on to win the gold. He blanked Park Daeseung of South Korea in the summit clash.

In the Greco-Roman 98kg division, India’s Hardeep Singh went down by technical superiority to Yerulan Iskarov of Kazakhstan in the repechage round.

Iskarov had opened up a 9-0 lead which forced the judges to award the bout to the Kazakh wrestler.

Hardeep had started with a 0-5 loss to Iran’s Seyedmostafa Seyedghanbar in the quarter-finals.

There was disappointment in store for the home crowd in the Greco-Roman 130 kilogram division as well since Naveen suffered a 1-2 defeat to Muminjon Abdullaev of Uzbekistan in a bitterly contested qualification round bout.

Photo: Times of India