Olympic qualifiers: Yogeshwar bags Rio berth with first Gold for India

Olympic qualifiers: Yogeshwar bags Rio berth with first Gold for India

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2012 Olympics bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt qualified for the Olympics on Saturday after bagging the gold in the final of the 65 kg category at the Asian Olympic Qualification wrestling championship. Other Indian wrestlers had won three bronze medals yesterday, but failed to qualify for Rio.

Yogeshwar Dutt bagged the second Olympic berth for India in the 2016 Rio Olympics after winning the gold in the men's freestyle 65kg category. Yogeshwar defeated Ju Song Kim of North Korea 8-1 in the quarter-final and Xuan Dinh Nguyen of Vietnam 12 - 2 (by fall) in the semi-final to enter the gold-medal bout. The 33-year old Indian took on Yeerlanbieke Katai of China in the final and beat him by forfeit, 0-0. 

In the men’s 57kg freestyle category, Rahul Aware defeated Hikmatullo Vohidov of Tajikistan 16-8 in the quarterfinal to enter the last four. But, he saw his chances of an Olympic spot going up in smokes after a 0-10 loss to Japan’s Rei Higuchi in the semi-final. Aware bounced back in the bronze-medal match and beat Berdi Atabayev of Turkmenistan 10-0 to clinch the medal.

Like Aware, Babita Kumari also raised hopes of an Olympic berth by storming into the 53kg event semi-final after thrashing Kazakhstan’s Zulfiya Yakhyarova on technical superiority 10-0 in her quarterfinal bout. But, her Olympic hopes were dashed in the semi-final after a loss to Sumiya Erdenechimeg of Mongolia 8-15. The 26-year old did not let the disappointment of the semi-final affect her and won the bronze medal in a close bout against Shinhye Lee of Korea.

(Read about the best hopes of India at the Asian Olympic qualifiers)

In Greco-Roman wrestling, which is not India’s forte, Ravinder Khatri won a bronze medal in the 85kg category to the surprise of everyone. After losing in the quarter-final to Zhanarbek Kenzheev of Kyrgyzstan 0-2, Khatri made it to the bronze medal match through repechage after Zhanarbek Kenzheev entered the final. Khatri defeated Taichi Oka of Japan 6-1 in the bronze medal fight to take India’s medal count at the tournament to three

The other wrestlers in the fray, Navjot Kaur (Women’s 69kg freestyle) and Ravinder Singh (Greco-Roman 59kg) ended outside the qualification bracket. 

(Take a look at the Indian squad for the Olympic qualifiers)

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