Bajrang Punia storms into World Championship semis

Budapest [Hungary], Oct 21, (ANI): Leading the Indian challenge, India's seasoned campaigner Bajrang Punia handed a 5-3 drubbing to Tulga Tumur Ochir of Mongolia to storm into the semi-finals of the men's 65 kg event on the second day of the World Wrestling Championships here at the Papp Laszlo Sportarena in Budapest on Sunday. In a thrilling quarterfinal clash, the Haryana lad held upper hand until the last minute, leading 4-1. But Punia conceded to his Mongolian opponent three crucial points, including one for the neutral position and two for the takedown within 40-odd seconds, almost halting the Indian's progress. But Punia held his nerves and thwarted the challenge by the Mongolian in the last second, thus earning an additional point. "I am happy I was able to keep my cool in the last few seconds to see this through. I am confident and I also knew that the challenge cannot go against me," said a relieved Punia from Budapest over the phone. The Indian will now take on Alejandro Enrique Valdes Tobier of Cuba in the semi-finals, later tonight. Following Punia's victory, coach Jagminder heaped the praise on the grappler and said, "He (Bajrang) is an experienced player and did well throughout the bout but I am particularly happy that he could keep cool and win it despite the match being very close." Earlier, Punia had defeated Roman Asharin 9-4 in the first round and beat Korean Lee Seungchul 4-0 in a bout which saw both grapplers trading cautiously. After having earned three points in the first period, Punia added just one more in the second essay even as the Korean was concentrating more on his defence. In other bouts of the day, Sandeep Tomar scored an excellent first-round win over his Guatemala opponent Jose Mox Arias with a score of 10-0, six of his points coming in the second period. He, however, lost the second round to Azerbaijan's Giorgi Edisherashvili 2-2-his opponent was declared a winner because of a warning which the Indian received in the first period. Sachin Rathi lost his first round in the 92 kg category to the strong Mongolian wrestler, Unurbat Purevjav, 13-1. Purevjav outclassed the Indian in the second period. On the other hand, Deepak, who received a first-round bye, lost the second-round bout to Liubomyr Sagaliuk of Ukraine 4-0. Yesterday, Sumit Malik, the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games gold medallist, recorded a major upset after outclassing Inkar Yermukambet of Kazakhstan 6-1 in the quarterfinals. He also drubbed Japan's Taiki Yamamoto 4-1 in the pre-quarterfinals of the 125 kg category. (ANI)
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