India’s Sajan Bhanwala won the historic Greco-Roman bronze medal at the World U23 Wrestling Championships in Pontevedra, Spain on Tuesday. The Sports Authority of India (SAI) informed about Sajan winning the medal through its Twitter.
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Sajan defeated Ukraine’s Dmytro Vasetskyi in a thrilling 77kg category match to clinch India’s first medal in the Greco-Roman category. The Indian wrestler was trailing 4-10 in the second round. He made a great comeback from here and scored six points in the last 30 seconds to beat his opponent 10-10 on technical grounds. After that, Sajan gave India its first medal in the World U23 Wrestling Championships. India has never won a medal in the Greco-Roman variant of wrestling at the U23 level. But Bhanwala made it possible.
Sajan is a resident of Kasandi village and his father Mahipal is a farmer. The financial condition of the house was not good and hence his father had to get his son’s career by taking money from others. On 19 September 2018, The Scroll quoted Sajan’s father as saying, “Many players of the country were raising pride, so I also thought of making it a player. I don’t know how it got here but it will be hard work. I tried to help it but our financial condition was not good so we had to borrow money, and the coaches also helped.”
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In the first round, Sajan defeated Aistis Liagugminas of Lithuania 3-0. But, he had lost 8-0 to Alexandrin Gutu of Moldova in the pre-quarterfinals. He then defeated Rasul Zhunis of Kazakhstan 9-6 in the repechage round to enter the bronze medal bout. With Gutu reaching the final, Sajan got a chance to survive in the tournament under the repechage rule. It is noteworthy that a wrestler can enter the repechage round if the wrestler who defeats them reaches the final. Apart from this, Vikas lost in the semi-finals to Pavel Puklavec of Croatia in the 72kg category.