Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, Sep 20 : Star Indian wrestler and World no 1 Bajrang Punia clinched bronze medal after defeating Mongolia's Tulga Ochir 8-7 in the bronze medal match (65kg) at Wrestling World Championships, here on Friday.
Another Indian Wrestler Ravi Dahiya also claimed a bronze medal on his debut World Championships by stunning Asian Champion Reza Atri Nagarchi of Iran. Dahiya defeated his fancied rival 6-3 in the bronze medal bout of the men’s 57kg freestyle category. India has got three Olympic quotas so far in this tournament. Apart from Bajrang and Ravi, women wrestler Vinesh Phogat has granted Olympic quota to India.
Keeping aside the disappointment of Thursday's loss, Bajrang displayed his best and won his third World Championship medal. No Indian has ever won more than one medal at the World Championships. Punia now has three World Championships medals, including podium finishes in successive editions.The Asian Games gold medallist had won his first World Championships medal - a bronze in 2013. He finished with a silver in 2018 in Budapest.
In an exciting bronze battle, Bajrang was down by 2-6 at the end of the first round, but made a grand comeback in the second round, to make it 8-6 in his favour. The bout ended with a scoreline of 8-7, in favour of top seed Bajrang.
Punia also had to bounce back from a controversial semi-final loss on Thursday, as he lost to home wrestler Daulet Niyazbekov, after sealing his Tokyo Olympics quota.
Former world champion Sushil Kumar’s return to the world stage, however, lasted only one round as he lost his 74kg opener.2010 world champion Sushil Kumar’s comeback to the World Championships after eight years proved short-lived as he lost his first-round 9-11 to world junior champion Khadzhimurad Gadzhiyev of Azerbaijan in 74kg. The 36-year-old Sushil had a 9-4 lead in this battle of generations but lost seven consecutive points to concede the bout.
Meanwhile, Parveen Rana (92kg) was the only one of the Indian wrestlers beginning his campaign today, who managed to win a bout. Rana made a bright start to his challenge when he beat Korea’s Changjae Sue 12-1 by technical superiority. He could not do much in the Round of 16 where Ukraine’s Liubomyr Sagaliuk brushed him aside in an 8-0 win.
Reigning Commonwealth Games champion Sumit Malik too failed to win a round after going down 0-2 to two-time European Championships medallist Daniel Ligeti of Hungary. Karan Mor was no better in 70kg. Ikhtiyor Navruzov of Uzbekistan proved to be a roadblock for him as the Indian was completely outplayed in a 0-7 verdict.
On Saturday, Junior world champion Deepak Punia will hope to shine at the senior event having been seeded fourth in 86kg. However, for that to happen, he needs to first overcome the Asian Games bronze medallist Adilet Davlumbayev of Kazakhstan.
Mausam Khatri, who won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games last year, has been presented with a tough draw as he faces the top seed and reigning Olympic champion Kyle Snyder in 97kg. The second seed in 61kg, the Commonwealth Games champion Rahul Aware has a comparatively easier draw. He faces the winner of the bout between Kerim Hojakov of Turkmenistan and Elmedin Sejfulau of Macedonia. In 79kg, Jitender starts off against Paskalov of Macedonia.UNI