World Championship silver medallist wrestler Amit Kumar rued that a bad umpiring decision at the end of his bout cost him a deserving gold medal in the final of the 55kg category against Iran's Hassan Farman Rahimi.
Asian Champion Amit Kumar had to settle for a silver after going down 1-2 against Rahimi on the opening day of World Wrestling Championships on Monday at the Papp Laszlo Arena in Budapest, Hungary.
The 19-year-old expressed his "disappointment" to have narrowly missed the opportunity to equal the record of two-time Olympic medallist and country-mate Sushil Kumar -- the only Indian to have won a gold in the World Championships in the 2010 Moscow edition.
"It was a tough final against Rahimi and we both fought tooth and nail. The referee gave me a warning for engaging in defensive and shadow wrestling. In reality, it was the other way round as the Iranian was getting back on my moves. He was more defensive and the point should have come my way," Amit said.
"In the first round, I took the first point and twice came close to pinning him down in the second round. We were tied at 1-1 in the first round. In the next round, the referee awarded him the crucial point.
"Referee was warning me for not attacking Rahimi but the official should have warned the Iranian for not responding to my moves. In the end moments of my bout (second three-minute round), he awarded him a point which left me disappointed. It was clear that I was the one who was more attacking throughout the bout," he added.
The 2012 Asian Championship bronze medallist further added that referee's warning led to distraction which cost him the final bout.
Coach Virender Kumar, who has accompanied the 24-member Indian contingent at the World Championship, also made his displeasure known when he said his ward was "very impressive" throughout the match and deserved to win the yellow metal.
"It was a good fight but referee's decision put paid to his hopes. He has got good skills which he amply showed against Rahimi. It was a bad decision by the referee but nevertheless, I am happy for Amit who made the whole nation proud," said Kumar.
Amit emulated Bishamber Singh who had won a silver in World freestyle wrestling championship in Delhi.
En route his final bout, Amit defeated Sezar Akgul of Turkey 8-0 in the semi-final, Agelo Alesmo Escobedo of the USA 6-0 in the quarters, Zoheir Elo Arraque of France 8-0 in the third round, Yasuhiro Inaba of Japan 10-2 in the second round while in the first round, he had got a bye.
Amit thanked Sushil and London Olympics bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt for encouraging him before each bout.
"Their kind words helped me a lot. They always egged me on before every bout. I had a word with my mother (Sheila Devi) before the semis and she was happy with my performance," said the wrestler from Nahri near Sonipat in Haryana.
Image: Amit Kumar
Photograph: Grigory Dukor/Reuters