India’s Paris-bound wrestler Aman Sehrawat lost the final of Budapest Ranking Series by a resounding 1-11 margin to Japan’s double Worlds medallist Rei Higuchi in the Hungarian capital on Thursday. The 20-year-old Indian breezed through his opening bouts, demolishing Georgian Roberti Dingashvili 11-i in two minutes and 51 seconds before beating 2021 World Championships bronze medallist Aryan Tsiutryn of Belarus 14-4 in the semi-final.

India’s Paris-bound wrestler Aman Sehrawat lost the final of Budapest Ranking Series(HT)

The reigning Asian champion, however, came up well short against his Japanese opponent in the final. The 28-year-old Higuchi, a Rio Olympics silver medallist, went on the offensive early and never allowed Aman to pull off his attacking moves.

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He got hold of Aman’s legs at least four times in the opening two minutes of the final, converting two of those moves into takedowns to run away to a 4-0 lead. Aman, wary of getting too close to the pacier and technically superior Japanese, tried a few attacks of his own but Higuchi stayed out of his reach.

The Indian showed some intent in the second period, moving closer and tried to cut down the angles but Higuchi’s defence held firm. The Japanese effected two more takedowns to double his lead before the two traded a point each to pushouts. Higuchi out Aman out of his misery with a final leg attack, effortlessly swooping in and rolling him over for an 11-1 result.

The second-place finish, however, will earn Aman some crucial ranking points that will help him secure a favourable draw in Paris. Aman was India’s only entry in the competition after Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) decided to send only Olympic-qualified wrestlers for the event.

Women’s wrestling will commence on Friday in 50kg, 53kg, 57kg, 59kg, and 72kg divisions. From India’s perspective, all eyes will be on Vinesh Phogat (50kg) and Antim Panghal (53kg). Phogat has stepped down from her pet weight class of 53kg while Panghal, who last competed eight months back, will get a chance to test her fitness.

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