Azhar Hussain downs Nigeria`s Welson Ebikewenimo during men`s 55kg wrestling final match in New Delhi on Sunday.
Pakistan took their first Commonwealth Games wrestling titles for 40 years on Sunday, winning two golds and spoiling India’s party in the final session of the tournament.
India were not going to have it all their own way when Pakistan’s Azhar Hussain defeated another Kumar – Anil – in a tense quarterfinal battle in the 55kg.
Hussain gave an impressive performance of clever footwork and brute strength to take Nigerian Ebikewenimo Welson out by a fall in the second session of the 55kg freestyle final.
“We don’t have the proper Greco-Roman coaches, but still we went for it and for the country’s sake we got the silver in the Greco-Roman and now gold in the freestyle catergory as well,” Pakistan‘s head freestyle coach Omar said.
His team had not taken a Games wrestling title since they won four golds in Edinburgh 1970 but the wait was to be shorter this time with Muhammad Inam gving Pakistan a second gold within an hour.
Inam was overpowered by India’s Anuj Kumar in the first session but, spurred on by Hussain’s victory, found the inspiration to overcome the favourite and the chants of a partisan home crowd to win the next two sessions.
“It’s a dream come true to win for my country in wrestling,” Inam said.
“Two gold medals in one day is the result of the hard work that the wrestling association in Pakistan has given us.”
“I was feeling very proud when the Pakistani national anthem was being played and the Pakistan flag was being raised in Delhi.”
Indian world champion Sushil Kumar proved to be the shining light for the hosts.
India’s latest posterboy, one of the nation’s best medal hopes after winning the world championships in Moscow last month, treated his fans to an emphatic victory over South African Heinrich Barnes in the 66kg final. “You have no idea with all the expectations riding on me and competing in my home country and winning gold — it is the best feeling I ever had,” he said. “This gold is the result of my audience’s love and my own determination.”
Kumar pinned Barnes to the mat in the second session to close out the final 7-0