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Monday, Oct 21, 2019

0-6 down: Bajrang Punia stages spectacular comeback to win bronze at World Wrestling Championships

Bajrang Punia ensured that he did not return empty-handed as he bagged India’s third medal at the World Championships 2019.

other-sports Updated: Sep 20, 2019 20:23 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Delhi
File image of Bajrang Punia.
File image of Bajrang Punia.(PTI)

Bajrang Punia bagged the bronze medal at the ongoing World Wrestling Championships which is taking place in Nur Sultan, Kazakhastan on Friday. Bajrang was India’s top medal hope in the tournament after his spectacular show in the past year. There was disappointment in missing out on a finals place due to a controversial loss to Kazakhstan’s Daulet Niyazbekov in the semi-finals. But the Indian grappler ensured that he did not return empty-handed as he bagged India’s third medal at the World Championship.

Bajrang was trailing in the first round to Tulga Ochir in the 65kg category but bounced back in style to outwrestle the Mongolian in the second round. He came back from 0-6 down to stage a spectacular comeback and win the match 8-7. The Indian scored three consecutive 2-points in the final 90 seconds to get the win.

This is now Bajrang’s third consecutive World Championships medal. He had won the silver medal last year. He also qualified for Olympics 2020, after he reached the semifinal on Thursday. Apart from Bajrang, Ravi Kumar also grabbed India’s second bronze medal in the day when he defeated Iran’s Reza Ahmadali Atrinagharchi in the 57 kg.

India had a disappointing day before Bajrang’s thrilling win as all the four competitors failed to earn a medal opportunity. Karan Mor lost in his 70kg opening bout, which was followed by Sushil Kumar’s first-round defeated in 74 kg. Sumit Malik (125kg) also lost in his opening bout, while Parveen (92kg) made it to the pre-quarters, but failed to make it into the quarters.

After Bajrang bowed out in semis, The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) on Thursday wrote to United World Wrestling (UWW).

“We sent only a request to review the bout and in a reply, Friday morning the chairman of Officiation Commission realised that some decisions were incorrect and assured that special attention will be given to Indian bouts,” a WFI source told ANI.

Punia secured a spot for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after an impressive 8-1 win over North Korea’s Jong Son in a quarter-final march in the championships in Kazakhastan on Thursday.

Following that, the world number one wrestler had entered the semi-finals of the tournament in the 65-kg category. Both were locked at 9-9 at the end of the bout and Niyazbekov was declared a winner by the umpires.

This decision was criticised by 2012 Olympics bronze medallist wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt.

Dutt took to Twitter and wrote in Hindi: “Anyone can differentiate between right or wrong after watching the semi-final between Bajrang and Niyazbekov. Then why the umpire could not see? Such carelessness in a big tournament...Everyone saw that Kazakhstan was playing in a very wrong way.”

First Published: Sep 20, 2019 19:28 IST

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