Asian Games: Wrestler Bajrang Punia Dazzles With India's First Gold, Lives Up to the Expectations
At the fag end of day one, India finally struck gold in Indonesia after Bajrang Punia won gold in the 65 kg Freestyle wrestling event. Bajrang, who had won all his bouts by technical superiority was attacking from the word go, pinned his opponent down early on and overturned him. It was a dream start for the Indian as he raced to six points.
But soon, Daichi Takatani, who had beaten the Indian in the quarter-finals of the Asian Championships this year, went for the leg hold, the move that Punia himself had used so successfully through the day grabbing a few quick points.
@BajrangPunia आपको एशियन गेम्स में स्वर्ण पदक जीतने की बहुत बहुत बधाई। ऐसे ही देश का झंडा ऊंचा करते रहो, देश का नाम रोशन करते रहो। मुझे और देश को आप पर बहुत गर्व है। जय हिंद, जय भारत। #AsianGames #AsianGames2018 #IndianWrestling pic.twitter.com/Ajq9eOmrqo— Yogeshwar Dutt (@DuttYogi) August 19, 2018
The Indian’s defence was looking good but Takatani just wouldn’t let go off the Indian’s leg in the dying seconds. But it was too little too late as Punia won 11-8 to win India’s first gold of the Asian Games, despite a late challenge from the Japanese.
This means now Punia has a bronze at World Championships (2013), gold at Commonwealth Games (2018) and Asian Championships 2017.
A protégé of Yogeshwar Dutt, Punia won the gold in the same weight category as his mentor had done at the 2014 Asian Games.
He also improved upon his silver-winning effort from Incheon. Before departing for the Games, talking to News18 Sports, Punia had said that his ultimate target is to win a gold at the Olympics.
“I don’t want to say that I will definitely bring back the Gold, but I will be aiming for only that. I’ve been wrestling well this season and my confidence is high.”
“To be the best I have to win Gold at the Olympics in Tokyo, but to scale that peak I need to first win in Jakarta and I am well prepared for this.”
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