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Bajrang Punia eyes historic gold after reaching World Championships finalBajrang Punia eyes historic gold after reaching World Championships final

first_imgIndia’s star wrestler Bajrang Punia reached the final of the World Championships and lived up to his promise as he now gets ready to battle for a historic gold medal in Budapest on Monday.In a tense 65kg semi-final, Punia edged out Cuba’s Alejandro Enrique Valdes Tobier 4-3 on Sunday to put himself in contention for the elusive gold.Upon reaching the final, Punia not only bettered his bronze medal win in the 2013 edition of the World Championships, he became the only Indian wrestler to win two medals at the Worlds.Two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar is the only Indian to have won the gold medal at the World Championships, achieving the feat in 2010 in Moscow in the 66kg category, and Punia will aim for the second-ever gold for India.If Bajrang Punia succeeds at winning the gold medal on Monday, it will be a rare achievement as he will win titles at all major championships in a single season. Bajrang Punia has already bettered his bronze medal finish from 2013 World Championships. (WFI Photo)Earlier in the year, Bajrang Punia won gold medals at both the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games.Bajrang reached the final with a tricky victory over his Cuban opponent. There were not many attacking moves in the semi-final with both Bajrang and Tobier mostly using the upper body power.Bajrang opened the scoring with a takedown but the Cuban reduced the margin by pushing the Indian out. Seconds before the first break, Bajrang took a 4-1 lead with a throw move.advertisementAlso read – How Kohli was chosen for Khel Ratna over Bajrang Punia. Sports Ministry explainsThe second period was again very intense and no grappler could score a point until the Cuban found a two-point move at the edge of the circle. Pressure was mounting with Bajrang’s coach shouting ‘attack, attack’ from outside. Tobier tried everything but the Indian maintained his lead to emerge victorious.Your first finalist at 65KG from India Bajrang BAJRANG! He defeats VALDES TOBIER (CUB) , 4-3!Watch #BudaWrestle2018: https://t.co/kjTKLk2zCK pic.twitter.com/tus1WAX4yD#BudaWrestle2018 (@wrestling) October 21, 2018In the other semifinal, Takuto Otoguro from Japan beat Akhmed Chakaev of Russia 15-10. The favourite Russian en route to his semifinals had sent two world champions packing earlier in the day.”I am much relieved after two close bouts. I knew he is a good wrestler but he was very desperate in the second period. He attacked unexpectedly which helped him gain two points in the last minute,” said Punia, speaking from Budapest.”When opponent is down, he normally goes all out attack in the last minute. I was trying to defend my lead but I need to be careful about this in the final. I have lost crucial points in the last couple of bouts in dying seconds and can’t repeat the same,” added Punia.Asked if he had time to watch the Japanese in action, Punia said: “I watched a bit of it after my match. He was overpowering against his Russian rival. I will watch his video and plan how to tackle him along with my coaching staff,” added Punia.Earlier in the competition, Bajrang defeated Roman Asharin 9-4 in the first round, beat Korean Lee Seungchul 4-0 and overcame Tulga Tumur Ochir of Mongolia 5-3 in the quarter-finals.In other bouts of the day, Sandeep Tomar began in stupendous fashion but could not sustain the momentum. He outclassed his Guatemala opponent Jose Mox Arias by technical superiority in the 57kg category but lost the second round to Azerbaijan’s Giorgi Edisherashvili.Sachin Rathi was outplayed 1-13 by Mongolian wrestler Unurbat Purevjav in the 79kg qualification round.Deepak, competing in the 92kg, lost his pre-quarterfinal bout 0-4 to Liubomyr Sagaliuk of Ukraine.(With PTI inputs)last_img read more