Naveen defeated Muhammad Sharif Tahir of Pakistan
After Ravi Dahiya, Vinesh Phogat, now it was Naveen’s turn. Naveen defeated Muhammad Sharif Tahir of Pakistan 9-0 in the freestyle 74kg category. Naveen won the gold medal in men’s 74kg freestyle wrestling at the 2022 Commonwealth Games by defeating Pakistan’s Muhammad Sharif Tahir in the final at the Coventry Stadium and Arena here on Saturday. Making his CWG debut in Birmingham 2022, 19-year-old Naveen, an under-23 world champion, won three of his bouts on the basis of technical superiority. Naveen, who had missed the Tokyo Olympic qualifiers due to being Corona positive, started the gold medal match with an aim. It looked like the Indian had an edge over Tahir in terms of pace and used it to open the scoring with a two-figure takedown.
Soon after, Naveen brought his 20-year-old rival into a ‘wheelbarrow’ position, but Tahir did well to avoid the catch. The match was open with a 2-0 lead in the second period. However, the Indian wrestler soon changed the match that he grabbed Tahir’s chest and scored 9-0. It was Indian game management from there as he played comfortably in the remaining few minutes to secure his gold. Earlier, Naveen faced odds with four-time African champion Nigeria’s Ogbona Emmanuel John being drawn in the qualifying round as his first opponent.
But, they sweated it a bit and beat the Nigerian by technical superiority. Singapore’s Hong Yew Lu suffered a similar face in the quarters and so did England’s Charlie Bowling, the Gold Coast 2018 bronze medalist, reaching the finals of the Indian wrestler in the semi-finals. Ogbona Emmanuel John and Canada’s Jasmeet Singh Phoolka won the bronze medal in the division.