Bajrang Punia opened India’s medal tally at the Asian Wrestling Championships with a gold in the 65kg freestyle category, beating Sayatbek Okassov 12-7 in the final on Tuesday in Xi’an, China. Meanwhile, Praveen Rana settled for silver and Satyavrat Kadian won bronze in 97kg category.
Trailing 2-5 at the end of the first period, World No. 1 Bajrang made a brilliant comeback to beat Okassov from Kazakhstan 12-7 in the final, fetching India’s first medal on Day 1 of the competiton. Winning the same title back in 2017, Punia ended with a bronze the next year after losing to Daichi Takatani in Bhiskek.
— India_AllSports (@India_AllSports) 23 April 2019
Earlier in the day, India started their campaign in men’s freestyle wrestling on a high with Bajrang Punia and Praveen Rana storming into the final of their respective weight categories.
Bajrang comfortably defeated Uzbekistan’s Sirojiddin Khasanov 12-1 in the semifinals to make it to the gold medal bout of 65kg. Before that, he overcame Peyman Biabani of Iran and Charles Fern of Sri Lanka to reach the semifinals.
Brilliant win by @BajrangPunia in the final of the #AsianWrestlingChampionship2019. He was down 2-7 in the 2nd period to his Kazakh opponent but showed so much class & composure to eventually win 12-7. Bajrang is at another level right now. Well done Coach Shako Bentinidis 👏👏👌
— Viren Rasquinha (@virenrasquinha) 23 April 2019
#AsianChampionship2019 में स्वर्ण पदक जीतने पर आपको ढेरों शुभकामनायें बजरंग बेटा। 2017 के बाद ये आपका दूसरा स्वर्ण है। हम सब को गर्व है आप पर, इसी तरह आगे बढ़ते रहें और #Tokyo2020 में भी देश का ध्वज ऊंचा करें। @BajrangPunia pic.twitter.com/NedfFG34iN
— Yogeshwar Dutt (@DuttYogi) April 23, 2019
Praveen Rana settled for silver medal after losing the final of 79 kg category 0-3 to Iranian wrestler Bahman Mohammad Teymouri. Satyavrat Kadian, participating in the 97kg category, finished his campaign with a bronze medal.
Apart from these two, in the women’s event, India’s top wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, Pooja Dhanda and Divya Kakran are also in contention.