- Deepak Punia defeated Swiss wrestler Stefan Reichmuth to enter the finals of the World Wrestling Championships.
- Rahul Awarel, who lost in the semi finals, will now play for the bronze.
Indian wrestler Deepak Punia scripted history by becoming the first grappler from the country to enter the finals in men’s freestyle 86kg category of the ongoing World Wrestling Championships. The Junior World Championships gold medallist defeated Switzerland’s Stefan Reichmuth to achieve the feat at Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan on Saturday. Earlier in the day, the Indian had won an Olympic place by beating Colombia’s Carlos Izquierdo 7-6.
However, fellow wrestler and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Rahul Aware lost in the the semifinals after winning 10-7 win over Kazakhstan’s Rassul Kaliyev in the last 8 tie.
#DeepakPunia breaks into the Finals!
On his debut World Championship, wrestler Deepak storms into Finals of the 86kg Freestyle event at #WrestleNursultan defeating Swiss grappler Stefan Reichmuth by 8-2. #AllTheBest @FederationWrest?#WeAreTeamIndia?? pic.twitter.com/t7kFh8zImG
— Team India (@WeAreTeamIndia) September 21, 2019
The Great Comeback in Quarters
Playing in the quarterfinals, Punia had started on a rather weak foot, with Carlos Izquierdo wrestling him out of the Indian in the first minute to lead by 0-4. However, the 20-year old showed exceptional courage to reduce his deficit to 5-3 in the first period. He continued his ascent in the second period to level the scores at 7-7.
With the players tied on points, Davlumbayev requested for a challenge. In the aftermath, the referees awarded a point to Punia while docking the local’s point. The Indian wrestler happily saw out the remainder of the 8 seconds to seal the deal at 8-6.
Having made it 5-5, the Indian wrestler then went on to win the contest 8-6.
Elsewhere, in another close quarterfinal clash, Aware had returned from a 0-2 deficit in the first minute, to equalise 2-2 before leading by 3-2. Going into the break, Aware had maintained the slender lead at 6-5. His performances peaked in the second period as he wrestled Kaliyev off the mat in the last minute to make it 10-6.
Although the Kazakh managed to win one point, Aware held on to win the contest 10-7.
On his way to the quarters, the 27-year old got the better of Kerim Hojakov of Turkmenistan 13-2 in a one sided contest.
It was not a good day for in the men’s 79kg category for Jitender who lost against Slovakia’s Tajmuraz Salkazanov in the quarterfinal by 0-4. Mausam Khatri too lost by a significant margin of 0-10 to USA’s Kyle Snyder, an Olympic gold medallist, in a one-sided pre-quarterfinal in the 97kg category.
Nonetheless, the duo will have a chance of redemption in the repechage if their opponents reach the finals.