File photo of Bajrang Punia.© AFP
Star Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia suffered a crushing defeat in the quarter-finals but returned to the medal race after entering the 65kg repechage round of the World Championships in Belgrade on Saturday. Bajrang suffered a technical superiority (10-0) defeat at the hands of two-time cadet world champion Yianni Diakomihalis, 23, of America in the last eight rounds. However, the two-time Commonwealth Games champion, who is in search of his fourth World Championships medal, rebounded as soon as he entered the repechage round after reaching the finals of Diacomihalis.
Bajrang will take on the winner of the match between Armenia’s Vazhen Tevanyan and Bulgaria’s Vladimir Vladimirov Dubov in his first repechage match on Sunday.
Earlier, Bajrang had defeated Cuba’s Alejandro Enrique Valdes Tobier on points basis in the pre-quarterfinals.
He was trailing 0-2 before the Asian Games gold medalist suffered a head injury, forcing the match to be halted for a few minutes.
However, Bajrang did well despite being strapped heavily. He scored two takedowns and one move point to win the match 5–4.
Sagar Jaglan’s quest for a bronze medal in 74kg came to an end as the 18-year-old lost 6-0 to Asian champion Younes Alikbar Emami of Iran.
The World Under-20 bronze medalist had earlier entered the bronze medal bout by defeating Mongolia’s Suldkhu Olonbayar 7–3.
She entered repechage on Friday after losing in the quarterfinals to three-time world champion Kyle Dack of America.
In the 97kg category, Vicky lost 2-2 to Samuel Scherer of Switzerland in the qualification round. He crashed out of the medal race along with Pankaj (61kg), who had crashed out in the first round after losing to Kazakhstan’s Asil Aitakin.
The Indian wrestler has disappointed in this edition of the World Championship with only Vinesh Phogat winning a bronze medal so far.
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