Brilliant Sushil assures a medal with final entry

London: Star wrestler Sushil Kumar created history today as he scripted his name as India`s best-ever individual Olympian by assuring at least a silver medal in the London Olympics by entering the finals of the 66kg class here today.

Sushil, who had won India`s second bronze in Olympic history at the 2008 Games in Beijing, will meet Japanese Armyman Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu in the final. The Japanese thrashed Jabrayil Hasanov of Azerbaijan 3-0 in the other semi final

After Yogeshwar Dutt`s stellar performance yesterday to clinch a bronze medal in the 60 kg category, the pin-up boy of Indian wrestling today fought the best bout of his life as he came from behind to beat Kazakhstan Wrestler Akzurukh Tantarov 3-1 in the semi-final.

The Beijing Games bronze medallist won the first round easily with 3-0 score which included a penalty point. Sushil first used the Iranian technique to get over his opponent and then rolled him over for two points. A head butt by Tantarov assured him another point.

The second round undoubtedly belonged to the 25-year-old Kazakh wrestler as he put Sushil on the mat and tossed him over to get 3-0 clincher.

When the third round started, the 29-year-old Indian looked tired and jaded as within the first seconds, conceded a 3-0 lead to the Kazakh. The match looked as good as over for Sushil who waited for that one inspirational moment as he caught Tantarov by his leg and pegged him down to make it 3-3 with the vociferous Indian contingent egging him on.

This was followed by a Hercules-like act as he suddenly stood up with the Kazakh hanging on his shoulders. It probably was the defining moment for the Indian contingent`s challenge at the biggest sporting spectacle. An Indian`s show of strength at the world stage.

Sushil Kumar can take a bow as he will now be considered at par with legendary hockey players Dhyan Chand and Balbir Singh Sr although theirs was a team sport and were part of back-to-back gold medal winning teams.