Suman enters bronze medal play-off despite elbow injury

Suman edged out Vietnam's Luong Thi Quyen 3-1 in her opening bout by making a strong comeback after being outclassed 5-0 in the first period, by clinching the next two narrowly despite sustaining the injury to her joint.

She then fought on bravely and again rallied after losing the first period to Kyrgyzstan wrestler Nestan Kiiazova 3-1, but then won the next two with handsome 5-0 and 2-0 margins.

However, the injury hampered her from giving her best in the semifinal bout and she lost 0-3 to Mongolia's Nasanbyrmaa Ochirbat.

Ochirbat in turn went on to dump two-time world champion Mio Nishimaki of Japan by pinning the fancied opponent with a double-leg tackle, to storm into the gold medal clash with Beijing Olympic Games bronze medalist Yelena Shalytina.

Suman awaits the winner of the repechage fight between China's Chen Meng and Nishimaki in the bronze medal fight-off in the evening.

"Without the (right elbow) injury, she would have been stronger. She is a good wrestler who has trained for two years. She practiced systematically," said Indian wrestling coach Piara Ram Sondhi.

Meanwhile, overall it turned out to be another disappointing day for India on the mat as two other wrestlers in fray -- Geeta (55kg) and Gursharanpreet Kaur (72kg) -- crashed out in their respective quarterfinal fights in freestyle event.

Commonwealth Games gold medal winner Geeta won her opening bout but lost in the quarterfinals, while Gursharan Preet Kaur lost her first bout by a fall.

Earlier, Geeta easily defeated Korea's Jieun Um 3-1 after tying the first period 2-2 and then coming out to clinch the second 2-0 but then came a cropper against North Korea's Pak Yon Hui 1-3, beaten 3-1 and 7-0 in the two periods.

Hui later lost in the semifinals to eight-time world and two-time Olympic champion Saori Yoshida of Japan who would fight for an unprecedented third straight Games gold with Zhang Lan of China later today.

Geeta, who also made her exit like Gursharan, later blamed the euphoria and the various felicitations that she took part in after her title-triumph in the CWG for her lack of preparedness for the tougher competition here.

"I didn't have a good preparation because I didn't train for one month leading into the Games. I won the 14th gold medal for India and then I went to different places for felicitations," she said.

Coach Sondhi echoed her views when he looked at the overall dismal performance of the wrestling squad.

"Whatever schedule I had kept could not be followed as the wrestlers were busy after the Commonwealth Games in various felicitation functions. That's the reason for the poor show," he said.

After winning 10 gold, 5 silver and 4 bronze in CWG, the haul being next only to the shooting team's 30, the grapplers have captured only three bronze medals till yesterday, and two of those – Ravinder Singh and Sunilkumar Rana - have won them in the Greco-Roman style which is not India's strong suit.

In freestyle only Mausam Khatri has bagged a bronze, and that too via the repechage route in men's competition and the last hope of a medal in the women's section rests on Suman who would be carrying an injury into a fight-off in all probability against two-time world champion Nishimaki.

"There will be some trouble, but she will fight for the bronze," assured Sondhi when asked about Suman's injured elbow.

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