Olympics: India’s Punia enters wrestling semifinals

Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia entered the semifinals of the 65kg men’s freestyle by beating Iran’s Morteza Ghiasi at the Tokyo Olympics on Friday.

In the semifinal, Punia will face Haji Aliyev of Azerbaijan later on Friday (1:15pm UAE Time)

Earlier, Pundia had progressed to the quarterfinals after defeating Ernazar Akmataliev of Kyrgyzstan at the Makuhari Messe Hall A — Mat A on Friday.

The bout between Bajrang and Akmataliev ended with a score of 3-3 but the Indian prevailed because he had the criteria with him (higher point-scoring move, a 2-pointer in the first period) in the pre-quarterfinals.

The number two seed Indian started the match very aggressively but Kyrgyzstan’s grappler defended well with his upper body strength. Soon, the referee took notice of Akmataliev’s passivity and incurred a shot clock against him which gave Bajrang his first point of the match.

Ernazar soon pegged one back against Indian and levelled the match. In the dying seconds of the first half, Bajrang took the benefit of a leg slip from the Kyrgyzstan wrestler and pounced to achieve the two points takedown.

The 27-year-old Indian star gathered another point in the second half but Akmataliev came back with force as he threw Bajrang out of the mat two times to level the bout in the dying seconds of the match. With seconds on the clock, Bajrang defended with all agility to move into the next round.

Earlier in the day, Seema Bisla lost to Tunisia’s Sarra Hamdi in the Women’s Freestyle 50kg, pre-quarterfinals. Hamdi edged Seema 3-1 to cruise into the quarterfinals.

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