New Delhi, April 24: Opening India’s medal account, Bajrang Punia clinched in gold in the 65kg freestyle category at the Asian Wrestling Championships. Bajrang Punia defeated Sayatbek Okassov 12-7 in the final on Tuesday in Xi’an, China.
Sprawling 2-5 at the end of the first period, World No. 1 Bajrang made a brilliant comeback to beat Okassov from Kazakhstan 12-7 in the final. Fetching India’s first medal on Day 1 of the competition, Bajrang Punia made a remarkable start. Winning the same title back in 2017, Punia ended with bronze the next year after losing to Daichi Takatani in Bishkek.
India started its campaign in men’s freestyle wrestling on a high with Bajrang Punia and Praveen Rana storming into the final of their respective weight categories. Bajrang comfortably defeated Uzbekistan’s Sirojiddin Khasanov 12-1 in the semifinals to make it to the gold medal bout of 65kg. Before that, he overcame Peyman Biabani of Iran and Charles Fern of Sri Lanka to reach the semifinals.
Meanwhile, Praveen Rana settled for silver and Satyavrat Kadian won bronze in the 97kg category. Praveen Rana settled for a silver medal after losing the final of 79 kg category 0-3 to Iranian wrestler Bahman Mohammad Teymouri. Satyavrat Kadian, participating in the 97kg category, finished his campaign with a bronze medal.
Apart from these two, in the women’s event, India’s top wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, Pooja Dhand, and Divya Kakran are also in contention.