Tokyo Olympics: Wrestler Deepak Punia reaches men's freestyle semis
- Deepak Punia is ranked second in the world
- The Indian wrestler registered a victory by technical superiority
- He is one of India's bright medal prospects in wrestling at the Summer Games
Indian wrestler Deepak Punia kept India's hunt for a wrestling medal alive at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by reaching the semi-final of the men's freestyle (86kg), on Wednesday. He clinched the victory by points in the dying minutes of the game against China's Zushen Lin.
In period 1, Deepak Punia got one point as his Chinese opponent failed to record any. In period 2, the Chinese wrestler got 3 points (1,2) and the Indian got 5 points (2,2,1). The match went neck and neck till the very end, making it a tough affair for both the players.
However, it was World Number 2 Deepak, who emerged victorious in the end.
Earlier, he beat Nigeria's Ekerekeme Agiomor, the African championship bronze medallist, in technical superiority to reach the quarterfinals. The Nigerian had the power but Deepak was technically sound and won comfortably.
The other Indian wrestlers in the fray today were Ravi Dhaiya and Anshu Malik. While Ravi Dahiya reached the semi-finals of the men's freestyle 57kg event, Anshu, 19, lost the women's 57kg opener to European champion Irina Kurachikina of Belarus 2-8.
Dahiya, the quarterfinals, beat his Bulgarian opponent Georgi Valentinov Vangelov 14-4 and won the bout by technical superiority. The Bulgarian had beaten Abdelhak Kherbache of Algeria by technical superiority in his first-round bout.
Asian champion Anshu made a strong comeback after conceding a 0-4 lead against the Belarusian with two push-out points. She also managed to get hold of Kurachikina's right leg but could not complete the move.
On the counterattack, Anshu conceded another two-pointer but kept fighting. The European relied on her experience to prevail.
Anshu's chances to come back in the competition will depend on Kurachikina's progress. If the Belarusian makes the final, Anshu will get a repechage round.
Ravi Kumar will face Nurlslam Sanayev of Kazakhistan in the men's freestyle 57kg semifinal. And Deepak Punia will be facing David Morris Taylor III of the United States of America in the men's freestyle 86kg semifinal.