Bajrang Punia bags gold, Sarita silver at Asian Wrestling Championship
Bajrang Punia provided India its first gold medal as he posted a come-from-behind victory over Seungchul Lee of Korea in men's 65kg freestyle on the penultimate day of the Asian Wrestling Championship here on Saturday. Sarita, meanwhile, bagged a silver medal in women's 58kg category.
After registering a fabulous 6-2 win, Bajrang celebrated by taking a victory lap with the tri-colour on his shoulders. In his gold medal bout, the 23-year-old Indian conceded two points in the opening half to lag behind 0-2 at the break. However, Bajrang made a strong comeback in the second half as he did not allow his rival from Korea to earn any more points.
He first pushed his opponent out of the mat to take one point and then took the Korean down for two more to lead 3-2. From there on, Bajrang displayed an attacking game and never let his rival come back into the contest. He subsequently added three more points to his credit to wrap up the bout in style.
London Olympics medallist wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt was present at the gallery to witness his prodigy win the gold medal. "I asked him (Bajrang) to attack all the time and not be defensive and that paid dividends. Winning a gold medal in the Asian Championships is a really big thing," Dutt said.
Bajrang earlier made the final of his weight division with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Kukgwang Kim in the semifinal round. Putting up a brilliant show on his way to the gold medal round, Bajrang got the better of last edition's Asian Championship gold-medallist Meisam Nassiri of Iran 7-5 in the quarterfinal after beating Uzbek wrestler Sirojiddin Hasanov 4-3 in the qualification round. However, gold medal eluded Indian women wrestlers even as this was their best ever performance at the Asian Championship with six medals, including four silver and two bronze.