Deepak Punia qualifies for Tokyo Olympics 2020
Junior World Champion Deepak Punia earned an Olympic quota for India when he defeated Colombia’s Carlos Mendez in the 86kg World Wrestling Championships quarterfinal on Saturday. The Indian grappler struggled early on, going 0-3 down at the break. But later bounced back in the final 30 seconds with a takedown to earn a 7-6 win over his opponent. With the win, Punia made his way into the semifinals at the World Championships, where he will face Switzerland’s Stefan Reichmuth.
This is India’s fourth Olympic qualification at the event. Earlier, Vinesh Phogat (53kg), Bajrang Punia (65kg) and Ravi Kumar Dahiya (57) also made it to Tokyo Olympics with bronze medal wins.
In other results of the day, Rahul Aware also booked a spot in the semifinals in the non-Olympics 61kg category. He will face Georgia’s Beko Lomtadze in the medal bout.
Jitender lost his 79kg quarterfinal bout against third seed Muhammed Nuri Kotanoglu of Turkey. He can still earn an opportunity to win a medal in repechange if Kotanoglu makes it to the final.
India’s fourth grappler in the day, Mausam Khatri lost his opening bout in the 97kg Olympic category. He can still earn a Tokyo berth, and a medal opportunity if top-seeded Kyle Frederick Snyder of USA makes it to the final.