Pune: Pune wrestler Abhijeet Katke lifted the prestigious Maharashtra Kesari mace by beating Satara’s Kiran Bhagat in a keenly contested title bout during the 61st Maharashtra State Wrestling Championship being at the Mamasaheb Mohol Sports City in Bhugaon on Sunday.
Abhijeet beat Kiran 10-7 on points to win the coveted award, and was presented with a Mahindra Thar (SUV), the prize for the event, while Kiran, the runner-up was presented with a Royal-Enfield Bullet Classic.
The Bhugaon venue overflowed as wrestling fans thronged the 40,000-seater temporary stadium. Also those who witnessed the final bout were Sharad Pawar, the President of the Maharashtra State Wrestling Association; Union Minister for Transport and Water Resources, Nitin Gadkari, Pune’s Guardian Minister Girish Bapat and many other dignitaries from the wrestling and political field.
The wrestling championship was jointly organised by the Pune District Wrestling Association under the aegis of Maharashtra State Wrestling Association, Mulshi Taluka Wrestling Association, Mallasamrat Pratishthan and the villagers of Bhugaon.
Abhijeet and Kiran started the summit bout on a cautious note, keeping an eye on the big prize; enthralling the wrestling fanatics present on chilly evening.
Abhijeet was keen to strike at every given opportunity and took vital points with his offensive play, putting Kiran under pressure.
He led 3-1 at the half-time thanks to some brisk moves, that forced Kiran out of the mat on a multiple occasions.
The second part started on a positive note with Kiran Bhagat coming out of the traps and trying to be the aggressor, in order to eke out a few points.
On a few occasions, he succeeded in doing so, clawing back the deficit, but Abhijeet’s collective approach enabled him to capitalise on Kiran’s technical mistakes and score vital points of his own. He eventually held his nerve to clinch the championship on points.
Abhijeet, who trains with Amar Nimbalkar in Ganesh Peth area in the city, credited the Army Sports Institute for their vital guidance.