Indian wrestler Sumit Malik has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in the men’s 125kg freestyle category with a commanding win over Venezuela’s Jose Daniel Diaz Robertti in the semi-finals of the World Wrestling Olympic Qualifiers being held in Sofia, Bulgaria. He is the seventh wrestler from India to qualify for the Games.
Sumit had a slender 0-1 lead midway into the bout and extended the gap, in the end winning by a margin of 5-0.
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He joins Ravi Dahiya (57kg), Bajrang Punia (65kg) and Deepak Punia (86kg) among the male wrestlers who have made the cut for Tokyo. Vinesh Phogat (53kg), Anshu Malik (57kg) and Sonam Malik (62kg) are the three women to have made it to the quadrennial event, set to begin on July 23.
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In the qualification round, Sumit found himself trailing 1-2 to Kyrgyzstan’s Aiaal Lazarev as the bout entered the final 25 seconds. Fortunately for the Indian, he got a push-out point towards the dying moments of the contest and clinched victory on criteria, with the score tied at 2-2.
Sumit had another tough match-up in the pre-quarter-finals against Moldova’s Alexandr Romanov and had to once again come back from behind to progress. The match ended 2-2, as the 28-year-old won the encounter on criteria like in the previous round.
The quarter-final contest saw him shift gears. Up against Tajikistan’s Rustam Iskandari, he initially struggled and conceded a 2-4 lead. However, Sumit logged four two-pointers to comfortably pocket the contest and storm into the semi-finals of the tournament and thus qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
The finalists in this competition will earn direct berths at the Tokyo Olympics. Amit Dhankar (74kg) and Satiywart Kadiyan (97kg) were earlier eliminated from the event. Seema Bisla (50kg), Nisha Dahiya (68kg) and Pooja (76kg) will be in action in the women’s section.