Rahul Aware has beaten Tyler Lee Graff of the USA 11-4 in the bronze medal bout of the non-Olympic 61 kg category at the World Wrestling Championships in Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan. Winning a total of five medals in this edition, India have produced their best-ever performance at the showpiece event.
Rahul Aware (61kg) added to India’s record medal tally at the 2019 Senior Wrestling World Championships in Nursultan, Kazakhstan on Sunday by defeating Tyler Lee Graff of the USA and clinching bronze in the non-Olympic category. Aware added a fifth medal in India’s tally by winning the bronze medal bout 11-4. Aware was down early in the game as Graff started the bout by racing off the blocks and earning two points in the first few seconds. But the Indian steadied himself and showed good defence, before bouncing with a couple of two-point moves to take a lead 4-2 into the break.
Graff looked to start on the offensive in the second period as well but Aware’s defence came to the fore again and he extended his lead to 10-2. A lost challenge from Graff’s team helped Aware take a massive nine-point lead with less than a minute to go.
Graff tried to force an unlikely comeback and grabbed two points in the dying seconds but it was not enough as Aware won by a handsome seven-point margin.
India’s previous best showing at the showpiece wrestling event was three medals in 2013 and with five medals this year, India will return from the Championships with its best-ever performance.
Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, and Ravi Dahiya have already secured a bronze medal each while Deepak Punia won silver after pulling out of Sunday’s final due to injuries. All four of them qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as well.
Aware lost a pacy semifinal 6-10 to Beka Lomtadze of Georgia who is also the European championship silver-medallist. The Indian fell behind 1-8 after Lomtadze dominated the first period with his strong defence and fast moves. Aware tried to stage a comeback and came very close to pull it off when he was trailing just 6-8 with 21 seconds left. However, the Georgian earned two points at the end and sealed his spot in the finals.