Bajrang Punia sets up Asian final against nemesis Otogur, Ravi Kumar too advances Almaty

April 17, 2021

WrestlingAsian Championships


Bajrang Punia did not face much competition while Ravi Kumar Dahiya was impressive as the two Olympic-bound Indian wrestlers reached the finals of their respective categories at the Asian Championships here on Saturday.

Also reaching the medal rounds were Narsingh Pancham Yadav (74kg) and Satywart Kadiyan (97kg), who will fight for bronze after losing their respective semifinals.

Bajrang had no difficulty in getting past Korea’s Yongseok Jeong, who hardly attacked in his opening 65kg bout. His first scoring point was a take-down on counter and earned one more for the passivity of his rival.

Next for him was Mongolia’s Bilguun Sarmandakh, whom he pinned to ensure his passage into the summit clash.

He will be up against his Japanese nemesis Takuto Otoguro, who looked in supreme touch.

Bajrang had lost the 2018 World Championship title clash and last year’s Asian Championship final to the Japanese.

Ravi Dahiya (57kg) returned to the mat after year with a solid performance. He last competed at this event in New Delhi where he had won gold.

He was slow off the blocks but became his usual dominant self after the first period against Uzbekistan’s Nodirjon Safarov in his opening bout. Once he got into his rhythm, his moves were too hot to handle for his rival, as he won 9-2.

Ravi had a lot left in his tank even towards the end while Safarov had lost his steam, making it easy for the Indians to score points.

Next he faced Palestine’s Ali M M Aburumaila and he won on technical superiority. His title clash will be against Iran’s Alireza Nosratolah Sarlak, who was very impressive through his run to the final.

Kadiyan moved to the 97kg quarterfinals with an easy 8-0 win over Kyrgyzstan’s Arslanbek Turdubekov.

He scored two points in the first period with push out while the rest through take-down moves in the second as his rival hardly attacked. In the quarterfinal against Uzbekistan’s Mukhammadrasul Rakhimov, he played smart to win 4-1.

He then faced Iran’s Ali Khalil Shabanibengar and lost the semifinal by technical superiority in mere 25 seconds.

Karan moved to the 70kg quarters with a hard-fought 3-1 win over Iran’s Amirhossein Ali Hosseini but lost the next bout 0-6 to Syrbaz Talgat from Kazakhstan.

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