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Wrestling World Championships: Bajrang Punia settles for silver

Prime News, International and National Sport, Wrestling, Budapest (Hungary), October 23:- Indian Wrestler Bajrang Punia on Monday had to settle for a silver medal after he went down against Japan’s Takuto Otoguro in the 65 kg final of the Wrestling World Championships at the Lazlo Papp Budapest Sports Arena here.

Only the fourth Indian ever to make it to the World Championship gold medal match, 24-year-old Bajrang was rattled by the 19-year old Otoguro, who consistently attacked the left leg of the Indian and emerged a comfortable 16-9 winner. In the process, Otoguru became Japan’s youngest World Champion at the age of 19.

A four-point throw gave Otoguro an early 5-0 lead, leaving Bajrang to play a catch-up game. With back-to-back take downs, the Indian reduced the deficit to 4-5. The Japanese got more points with a step out and led 7-6 at the break. An early take down at the start of second period handed Otoguro a 9-6 lead.

The Japanese kept attacking Bajrang’s left leg, a strategy which the Indian struggled to counter. The Commonwealth Games and Asian Games gold medallist Bajrang eventually had to settle for a silver, which is his second medal at the Worlds. He had won a bronze in 2013 edition. Sushil Kumar, country’s greatest ever wrestler, is the lone Indian to win a gold medal at the Worlds, achieving the feat in 2010 in Moscow in the 66 kg category.

Apart from Sushil, Amit Dahiya (2013) and Bishambar Singh (1967) are the other Indians to make it to the World Championship final in men’s free style. Udey Chand (bronze, 1961), Ramesh Kumar (bronze, 2009), Narsingh Yadav (2015) are the other men’s free style wrestlers to win a medal at the World Championship. (Inputs: Agencies, NGB)

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