Asian Champion Amit Kumar assured India of at least a silver by storming into the finals of the 55kg category, on the opening day of World Wrestling Championships in Budapest on Monday.
After London Olympics silver medallist Sushil Kumar failed to take the mat due to fitness issues, Amit brought cheers to the Indian camp when he got the better off Sezar Akgul of Turkey in the semifinals of the marquee event.
The freestyle grappler will now take on Hassan Farman Rahimi of Iran in the final.
India’s last medal, in men's section, came in 2010 when Sushil had grabbed the gold.
Among other Indians, Arun Kumar (66kg) and Satyawart Kadian (96kg) failed to go the distance and crashed out of the tournament.
While Sushil's replacement in the 66kg category, Arun Kumar exited in the first round, world junior bronze medallist Satyawart Kadian (96kg) also could not cross the second hurdle at Papp Laszlo Sports Arena.
World No 7 Amit, however, showed no mercy on his Turkish opponent as he finished the proceedings in the first period itself to set up the final bout.
Touted as one of medal bets at the competition, Amit first floored Japan's Yasuhiro Inaba and followed it up with matting Frenchman Zoheir El Ouarraqe.
Such was his dominance that Amit overpowered both his opponents in the first period of the two three-minute round and won through technical fall (securing 7 or more points than his opponent).
In the quarter-final, Amit did not relax and breezed past USA's Angel Alesmo Escobedo, winning through a fall.
Earlier, Satyawart too began on a resounding note as he battered Sri Lanka's Madasing Achchillage Gamini and registered a win by technical fall in the opening minutes of the bout.
In the next round, Nicolai Ceban of Moldavie proved to be more technically superior than Satyawart as the 20-year-old Indian bowed out of the competition.
Arun surrendered meekly infront of Levan Kelekhsashvili of Georgia and was overwhelmed in the first period itself. The 22-year-old did not pose any challenge to his opponent and failed to collect even a single point.
There was uncertainty over Sushil's participation in the competition but the two time Olympic medal winner had maintained he will compete subject to his fitness. The wrestler hasn't taken part in any competition since London last year due to a shoulder injury.
The Indian senior team is playing its first competition under the new rules introduced by the sport governing body (FILA) in May.