Sharif Tahir gets CWG wrestling silver; Ali claims bronze

From our correspondent

BIRMINGHAM: Pakistan’s rookie wrestler Mohammad Sharif Tahir on Saturday had to content with a silver medal in his debut event when he went down to India’s Naveen Kumar 0-9 in the 74kg final of the men’s freestyle wrestling competition of the Commonwealth Games here at the Coventry Arena.

Meanwhile Ali Asad claimed bronze in the 57 kilogramme competition. With this the six-member Pakistan wrestling squad wrapped-up its journey with three silvers and two bronze medals. The outcome also took Pakistan’s medal-tally in the Games to one gold, three silvers and three bronze.

Lahore-born Sharif, who belongs to a wrestling family with his father being a former wrestler and his two brothers are also wrestlers, failed to live up to the billing against Naveen who kept the Pakistani grappler under pressure to annex his first Commonwealth Games title.

Sharif attacked Naveen’s legs but failed to hold them on and then took him down to secure two points. At halfway stage, with one take down, Naveen was leading. In the second round Naveen took Sharif down and kept him rolling which raised his points to nine that enabled him to seal victory.

Earlier in the day, Sharif, who plays for Higher Education Commission (HEC), got off to a fine start to his debut event when he downed John Vake of Tonga 11-0 in the pre-quarter-finals. Sharif, who had beaten the country’s all strong wrestlers in the Commonwealth Games trials to make a place in the national squad for the quadrennial event, then conquered Jaamit Singh Phulka of Canada 5-1 in the quarter-finals before beating Cole Hawkins of New Zealand in the semi-finals to set gold medal clash with Naveen.

Meanwhile another young wrestling sensation Ali Asad, who had beaten experienced Mohammad Bilal in the Commonwealth Games trials, also claimed bronze by whipping New Zealand’s Suraj Singh 11-0 through technical superiority in the bronze medal fight. It took him only 55 seconds to win the fight and made his debut decorated.

Ali, earlier, began his journey well when he beat Harvey Ridings of England 10-0 in his 57kg pre-quarter-final. He then downed Romio Ricardo Goliath of Namibia 10-0 in the quarter-final. However, he lost his semi-final against Ravi Kumar of India 4-14 to set up a bronze medal fight against Suraj Singh.

Pakistan’s seasoned campaigner Tayyab Raza, however, failed to win his bronze medal fight of the 97kg when he was toppled by India’s Deepak Nehra 10-2 in the six-minute battle.

Tayyab had won bronze in the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Tayyab, earlier, started brightly and defeated Reshji Mackey of The Bahamas 10-0 in only one minute and 52 seconds in the pre-quarter-final. He then went on to dislodge Cameron Nicol of Scotland 10-0 in the quarter-finals before losing his semi-final to Nishan Randhawa of Canada 0-7 to set a bronze medal fight with Deepak Nehra.

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