India's Rahul Aware won bronze in the 61kg freestyle category at the World Wrestling Championships in Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan on Sunday. Aware defeated USA's Tyler Lee Graff 11-4 in the non-Olympic category for India's fifth medal at the championships.
Aware, who lost his semifinal bout 6-10 to Beka Lomtadze of Georgia, began the bout by trailing 2-0 to the 2017 Pan American champion. He equalled scores at 2-2 before dominating the bout, running away to an 11-2 lead. After a lengthy review, the bout resumed with over a minute left and Aware's coach could be heard issuing instructions to Aware to simply protect his lead. That's exactly what Aware did, not letting his opponent any chance to get back into the contest. Although Graff managed two more points, it was a comfortable win for Aware in the end.
The other Indians to win medals at this year's Worlds are Deepak Punia (86kg freestyle silver), Ravi Kumar (57kg freestyle bronze), Bajrang Punia (65kg freestyle bronze) and Vinesh Phogat (53kg bronze). All four also won quota places to next year's Tokyo Olympics. In addition, Bajrang's bronze makes him the first Indian to win three medals at the World Championships.
Among the other Indians in action, Jitender (79kg) lost his quarterfinal while Mausam Khatri lost in the first round (97kg) to reigning Olympic champion Kyle Frederick Snyder on Saturday.