Tokyo, Sep 19, 2019 : Indian wrestlers Bajrang Punia and Ravi Kumar sealed their berths in next year’s Olympics in Tokyo by reaching semifinals at World Wrestling Championships at Nur-Sultan in Kazakhstan. While Bajrang defeated North Korea’s Jong Son 8-2 in his 65 kg quarterfinal bout to earn his maiden Olympics berth, Ravi defeated Japan’s Yuki Takahashi 6-1 in the 57 kg quarters as to HT reports.
Bajrang was trailing 0-1 in the first minute of his quarters bout after Son pushed him out of bounds to take the lead. But he was quick to bounce back immediately and finished with a 4-1 lead at the break. Son tried to target Bajrang’s legs in the second round, but it was not enough to push back for a comeback win.
Ravi made an easier work of his Japanese opponent in the semis, than his earlier bout in the quarters against European champion Arsen Harutyunyan. He pulled off a massive 18-6 win, after going down 6-0 early in the quarters bout. Against Son, Ravi was quick to take the lead, and then ensured that he stays on top of his opponent to earn an Olympic quota.
Punia will take on hometown hero Daulet Niyazbekov in the semifinal bout, while Ravi will go against Russia’s Zavur Uguev.
India have overall earned three Olympics qualification so far, with Vinesh Phogat earning the first win after winning bronze medal in 53kg on Wednesday.
In other results, Sakshi Malik was knocked out of medal contention after she lost 7-10 against Nigeria’s Aminat Adeniyi in Women’s 62 kg category. Adeniyi lost her pre-quarter final bout, thus running Malik out of repechange bout. Divya Kakran, who also lost her opening bout, will not compete in repechange after Japan’s Dosho, against whom she lost, was ousted from the tournament, losing her quarterfinal bout.
Punia is India’s biggest medal hope in Olympics 2020. He was rthe first Indian male wrestler to win a gold at the Asian Games at Jakarta in last year. He also won the gold medal last year in Commonwealth Games and pulled off a silver medal win in World Championships last year in Budapest.