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Asian Wrestling: Bajrang keeps calm to reclaim gold

Last updated on: April 23, 2019 21:18 IST

Bajrang Punia

IMAGE: It is Bajrang Punia's second gold and fifth medal at the Asian Wrestling Championships. He also won gold in 2017. Photograph: PTI

World number one Bajrang Punia logged 10 points in a row in the gold medal bout to reclaim his Asian Wrestling Championship crown. He defeated Kazakhstan's Sayatbek Okassov 12-7 in a nail-biting 65 kg men's freestyle final, in Xi’an, China, on Tuesday.

 

The Commonwealth and Asian Games champion was trailing 2-7 with just 60 seconds to go for the final bell but the unperturbed Indian produced three gut-wrench moves and an exposure move to take eight points after he began the attack with a two-point take down.

The Kazkah was visibly tired while Bajrang showed immense stamina and guile under pressure to emerge triumphant.

It is Bajrang's second gold at the championships, having won one in 2017. Overall, it is the fifth medal for the Indian in the tournament.

With this performance, Bajrang yet again sounded a warning to his opponents that he will be a strong medal contender at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

On the way to the final, he conceded just one point. He defeated Uzbekistan's Sirojiddin Khasanov 12-1 in the semi-finals before winning by technical superiority against Charles Fern of Sri Lanka. He beat Peyman Biabani of Iran 6-0.

Praveen Rana, however, finished with a silver as India ended the first day with three medals.

Rana, who entered the final in the 79kg category after a 3-2 victory over Kazakhstan's Galymzhan Usserbayev, was beaten by Bahman Mohammad Teymouri of Iran in the gold medal bout.

It is his first big medal in seven years. He won a bronze in this championship in 2012.

Rana had earlier defeated Yuta Abe of Japan and Mongolia's Tugs Erdene Denzensharav.

Satywart Kadian lost to Batzul Ulziisaikhan in the 97 kg quarter-final bout but went on to make the cut after his Mongolian rival reached the final. He won the bronze play-off 8-1 against Haobin Gao of China.

Meanwhile, in the 57 kg weight division, Ravi Kumar entered the bronze medal play-off round after winning his repechage against Chia Tso Liu of Taipei 4-0 but lost the medal bout 3-5 to Yuki Takahashi of Japan.

Ravi is up against Yuki Takahashi of Japan.

Rajneesh bowed out of the tournament early in 70 kg category.

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