Ace Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia is back in medal contention after suffering a shock defeat in the quarter-finals of the ongoing World Wrestling Championships in Belgrade, Serbia.
The Indian wrestler entered the 65kg repechage rounds after a 0-10 loss to 23-year-old and two-time cadet world champion Yianni Diakomihalis of the USA in the quarters.
With Diakomihalis reaching the final, Bajrang Punia entered the repechage round. He will take on the winner of the bout between Vazgen Tevanyan of Armenia and Bulgaria’s Vladimirov Dubov in his first repechage bout on Sunday.
Bajrang Punia loses steam in quarter-finals
Bajrang Punia started his World Wrestling Championships medal quest on a bright note, beating Cuba’s Alejandro Enrique Valdes Tobier on points in the pre-quarterfinals.
The reigning Asian Games gold medallist was trailing 0-2 before he suffered a nasty cut to his forehead, for which the bout had to be paused for a few minutes. However, he did well to hold on despite being heavily bandaged.
He scored two takedowns and an activity point to take the bout 5-4. However, in the quarter-finals, Bajrang Punia was a pale shadow of himself as he was unable to withstand the American’s onslaught and went down in a whimper.
Sagar Jaglan loses bronze medal bout, other wrestlers also disappoint
Sagar Jaglan’s quest for a bronze medal in 74kg ended as the 18-year-old lost to reigning Asian Champion Yones Aliakbar Emami of Iran 6-0.
The World under-20 bronze medallist had earlier defeated Suldkhuu Olonbayar of Mongolia 7-3 to move to the bronze medal bout.
He had entered the repechage on Friday after suffering a quarter-final defeat to three-time world champion Kyle Dake of the USA.
In the 97kg event, Vicky lost his qualification round bout to Samuel Scherrer of Switzerland 2-2. He was out of medal contention along with Pankaj (61kg), who also made an opening-round exit after going down to Assyl Aitakyn of Kazakhstan.
Indian wrestlers have disappointed in this edition of the World Wrestling Championships with Vinesh Phogat being the only medalist to win a medal so far.