London: India's Sushil Kumar won India its sixth and final medal of the 2012 London Olympics after settling for silver in the final of the Men's 66kg Freestyle Wrestling event on Sunday. But Sushil has created history by becoming the first Indian to win two individual Olympic medals.
Sushil, who reached the final after defeating Akzhurek Tanatarov of Kazakhstan in the semi-finals, was beaten by Japan's Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu 3-1 in a short and swift final bout at the ExCel Arena.
The Japanase took the first period 1-0 and midway through the second clinched gold by virtue of a strong throw that sent Sushil to the mat.
The Indian lost to Japan's Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu 3-1 in the final of the Men's 66kg Freestyle Wrestling event.
Sushil, a bronze medallist in 2008 at Beijing, fought bravely after vomiting and suffering dehydration following his semi-final victory but ended up on the losing side against his strong Japanese rival at the ExCel Arena.
The final was held inside three hours after his semi-final victory over Kazakhstan's Tanatarov. And to add to the 29-year-old Indian fighter's woes he had picked up a neck injury too that hampered his progress against Guangzhou Asian Games champion Yonemitsu.
Earlier, the 29-year-old Indian demolished Tanatrov of Kazakhstan 3-1 in an engrossing semi-final contest to achieve the memorable feat and provide a late spark to India's Olympic campaign.
Sushil, the flag-bearer of the Indian contingent here, kept his reputation intact with a stunning display of skill, stamina and power as he wriggled out of some difficult positions to fashion victories.
Backed by vociferous Indian spectators, Sushil wrapped up the first period 3-0 in the high-voltage semi-final clash against Tanatrov but lost the second by an identical score.
In the crucial third round, the Indian was lagging 0-3 behind but he showed his class and strength to fightback and level the score after pegging him down by his legs with the vociferous Indian contingent egging him on.
With 34 seconds left, the Indian scored two more points to move to 5-3 and then, with just seconds left in the contest, he sealed his victory by lifting his rival on to his shoulders and throwing him down on the mat to win the third period 6-3 to enter the finals.
Before that, Sushil disposed of defending champion Ramazan Sahin of Turkey in the Round of 16 and then prevailed over Uzbekistan's Ikhtiyor Naruzov 3-1 in the quarter-final.
The Indian appeared a little rusty in the first period of his bout against Sahin in the pre-quarter finals but found his mojo to tilt the scale in his favour from the second onwards.
Sushil lost the first period 0-2 and then took advantage of the click to scrape past in the second round with a 1-0 scoreline. He played it safe in the third round and did not take too many risks but managed to get one point to get the better of the Beijing Olympic gold medallist.
In the quarter final, Sushil showed his aggressive instincts a little more as he tried to rattle the Uzbek opponent by trying out different grips.
The Indian wrestler bagged the first period quite comfortably with a 3-1 margin but conceded two points late in the second to lose 1-2.
With scores tied at 1-1, Sushil went for an all out attack and relied on his experience to secure two points and romp into the semi-finals much to the delight of the hordes of flag-waving Indian spectators who cheered him lustily.
Apart from Sushil's silver, India bagged one silver and four bronze medals in the 30th edition of the Games, surpassing the one gold and two bronze medals they won in Beijing four years ago.