Tokyo Olympics wrestling: Bajrang Punia squeezes into quarterfinals

Wrestler Bajrang Punia edges into quarterfinal of 65kg freestyle event at Tokyo Olympics.

Tokyo Olympics wrestling: Bajrang Punia squeezes into quarterfinals
India's Bajrang Punia. (Source: Twitter)

Indian medal hope Bajrang Punia won his wrestling 65kg category bout by the slimmest of margins against Ernazar Akmataliev of Kyrgyzstan at the Tokyo Olympics on Friday (August 5). With the match ending at 3-3, Bajrang managed to win because he has secured 2 points over the course of the bout in a single move.

Bajrang threw his opponent on to the mat and got behind him. In the dying seconds of the first round, Bajrang won the crucial 2 points to enter the quarterfinals. A timely take-down move just before the end of the first period put the Indian ahead 3-1 but Akmataliev ran Bajrang close in the second period, getting two push-out points to level the scores.

Since Bajrang had the high scoring move, a two-pointer take down, he was declared winner on criteria. It was not the most clean and fluent victories that he is known for, but was just enough for Bajrang, who came into the Games after suffering a minor knee injury during a local Russian tournament.

The Indian will next face Iran's Morteza Cheka Ghiasi. Earlier, debutant Indian wrestler Seema Bisla could not find a way to get out of the defensive trap of Tunisia's Sarra Hamdi and lost her 50kg opening round 1-3.

The 27-year-old could not make her moves as Hamdi applied the body lock to great effect, never allowing Seema to initiate a strong attack. There hardly any moves in the bout with Hamdi getting two of her three points on push out and one on Seema's passivity.

Seema got on board when she too pushed her rival out after being put on activity clock for a second time. She now needs the Tunisian to make the final for return to competition through the repechage route. The Rohtak grappler had not even won a national event till 2017 but went on to secure her berth for the Games by winning the World Olympic Qualifier, held in Sofia in May.

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