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Out-of-practice Bajrang Punia draws blank at Asian Games
Photo courtesy: twitter.com/BajrangPunia

Out-of-practice Bajrang Punia draws blank at Asian Games

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 06 Oct 2023, 11:30 pm

Hangzhou: Wrestler Bajrang Punia, a Tokyo Olympic medallist, failed to secure a medal at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.

In the bronze medal match of the men's 65kg freestyle category, he was overwhelmed by the young Japanese wrestler Kaiki Yamaguchi.

Yamaguchi achieved a technical superiority victory over Bajrang in the second period, ending the bout before completion.

Bajrang lost to Yamaguchi in a one-sided match 10-0, forcing his exit sans a medal.

Bajrang opened his campaign with a 10-0 technical superiority win over Tubog Ronil of Philippines and then went on to beat Bahrain's Alibeg Alibegov in a hard-fought 1/4 final bout 4-0.

However, he was beaten by Iran's Rahman Amouzadkhalili 8-1 in the semi-finals.

The lack of practice under his belt after having been out of action for close to a year showed on the mat as Bajrang lacked pace and precision.

It was the first time in 9 years Bajrang returned from the Asian Games without a medal.

Bajrang Punia was qualified for the Asian Games from India without a trial.

In the first semi-final, Bajrang was outsmarted by former world champion Iranian wrestler Amjad Khalili Rahman 1-8.

During the bout, Bajrang did not look ready for the game at all. None of his moves seemed a fitting response to his opponent's skillful manipulations.

Bajrang's loss is drawing attention, especially considering his prominent role in the protests against former WFI president Brijbhushan Sharan Singh.

Despite 18 days of practice and training in Kyrgyzstan, the wrestler failed to get a favourable outcome.

Meanwhile, Bajrang's defeat has sparked a debate on social media.

Fans are disappointed with the broken gold medal hope and questioning Bajrang Punia’s direct entry into the Asian Games, especially as he looked underprepared while facing his opponents.

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