Wrestler Deepak Punia fourth Indian to seal Tokyo Olympics berth
India are aiming to end the ongoing World Wrestling Championships on a high after Deepak Punia secured an Olympics quota for the 2020 Tokyo event. He also reached the semis alongside Rahul Aware in their respective weight categories. Earlier, Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia and Ravi Kumar made the cut for the 2020 Games. Here are the details.
Deepak went on to beat Carlos Arturo Izquierdo Mendez of Colombia in the quarters and will next take on Stefan Reichmuth of Switzerland for a place in the finale. Rahul Aware overcame Kazakhstan's Rassul Kaliyev 10-7 to book a semis berth. He is competing in the non-Olympic 61 kg category. Earlier, the 27-year old outclassed Turkmenistan's Kerim Hojakov 13-2 in the pre-quarterfinal.
In the men's 79 kg category, Jitender lost 0-4 to Slovakia's Tajmuraz Salkazanov in the quarters, whereas, Mausam Khatri lost 0-10 to USA's Olympic gold medallist Kyle Snyder in a lopsided affair. However, both of them have a chance of making it to the repechage.
On Friday, Bajrang Punia ended his World Wrestling Championships campaign by winning a bronze in the men's 65 kg freestyle category. He beat Tulga Tumur Ochir of Mongolia 8-7 in the bronze medal bout. This was his third medal at the Championships after earlier winning a bronze in 2013 before clinching a silver last year. Meanwhile, Dahiya too won his bronze medal bout.
Punia had earlier lost his semi-final bout against Daulet Niyazbekov of Kazakhstan. The bout ended 9-9 in favor of the Kazak but Punia was not happy with some of the calls that were made. "I don't mind losing because it's wrestling," he said. "I am an athlete and I cannot describe how it feels to lose like that. I was helpless on that mat."