2019 World Wrestling Championship: Bajrang to fight for bronze, secures Olympics berth
Bajrang Punia was defeated by Daulet Niyazbekov of Kazakhstan and now will fight for the bronze at World Championship.
World no. 1 Bajrang Punia lost 9-9 Daulet Niyazbekov of Kazakhstan in the semi-final World Wrestling Championship on Thursday. The Kazakh took the early lead leading 2-0, but Bajrang pulled off a powerful comeback to make it 2-2. The first period ended with score levelled. Bajrang started the attack in the second period but was taken out of the ring after the Kazakh dragged him out to make 7-2. Niyazbekov further widened the lead with another two-pointer. Punia recovered with a two-pointer to make it 4-9.
With one minute left in the clock, Bajrang won another two points to make 6-9. As the clocked ticked down Punia pulled off some marvellous come back to make it 9-9. However, the Kazakh had the last laugh with a four-pointer in the bag.
Earlier, Bajrang beat Korea's Jong Cholson 8-1 in the quarterfinals and sealed a berth at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Bajrang took an early lead in the bout and didn't give much of a breather to his Korean opponent.
The 25-year-old became the third Indian wrestler to secure an Olympics berth after Vinesh Phogat and Ravi Kumar achieved the feat. Vinesh won her maiden medal (bronze) at the World Wrestling Championship pin two-time Worlds medallist Maria Prevolaraki of Greece. Ravi Kumar Dahiya beat Japan's Takahashi Y. 6-1 to move into the quarters and secured an Olympic berth.
Bajrang started campaign with a 9-2 win over Poland’s Krzysztof Bienkowski. He opened up a 5-0 lead in the first round after Bienkowski challenged a call and it was rejected. The Polish grappler got 2 points immediately after the restart but Bajrang was never to be denied.
The two-time medallist is eyeing his maiden gold at the championship. Bajrang triumphed at all four events he competed this season -- Dan Kolov, Asian Championship Ali Aliev and Yasar Dogu -- and entered the Championships as the world number one and the top seed in 65kg.