Indian Grappler Bajrang Punia got India their first gold as he won a thrilling match against Lee Seung-chul of Korea in Men’s 65 kg Freestyle event, today, at the Asian Wrestling Championships at New Delhi. In the Women’s 58 kg category, Sarita, however, settled for a silver medal as she lost her gold medal match to Aisuluu Tynybekova of Kyrgyzstan.
Bajrang, in his gold medal bout, conceded two early points (in the opening half) to lag behind with 0-2 at the break. Coming after the break with this deficit, Bajrang made a strong comeback and the two points of first half were the only points Lee could earn all through the final. he did not allow his rival to earn any more points.
Bajrang first took one point for pushing his opponent out of the mat and then took the Korean down for two more to lead 3-2. And then there was no stopping as Bajrang displayed an attacking game and never allowed a single point thereon. On the other hand, he subsequently added three more points to his credit to wrap up the match and pocket the gold medal.
Star Wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt was present at the gallery to witness him win the gold medal.
Speaking about Bajrang’s win, Yogeshwar said, “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.”
Gold medal, however, was not what Sarita won as the most coveted medal eluded Indian women even though this was their best ever performance at the Asian Championships (6 medals- 4 silver and 2 bronze). India’s previous best came in the 2003 edition where India had won a total of five medals that included two silver and three bronze.
In her gold medal match, Sarita lost 0-6 to Aisuluu Tynybekova of Kyrgyzstan to settle for silver as she couldn’t pose any fight to the winner. The grappler has climbed down two kilograms to 58kg from 60kg after Sakshi Malik and she interchanged their respective weight categories.
Speaking about the change of categories, she had said earlier, “Coming down two kilograms is not a big deal. It is natural for us to jump up and down 2-3 kilograms and right now my original weight is 58kg, so I was comfortable fighting in this category. I want to continue the good show and prepare to qualify for the World Championship in August.”
In other matches of the Asian Wrestling Championships, Satyawart Kadian (men’s 97kg category), went down to Batzul Ulziisaikhan of Mongolia 5-8 in repechage to lose out on a place in the bronze medal play-off, while Olympian Sandeep Tomar sustained a knee injury to bow out of the tournament early in men’s 57kg. Jitender (men’s 74kg) crashed out of the tournament after losing to Tsubasa Asai of Japan in the quarterfinal round 7-8.
Social Impact of the win:
Twitter went abuzz with the gold medal win of Bajrang Punia as there were people from all sphere to congratulate the Indian wrestler.
President Mukherjee congratulated Bajrang Punia for winning Gold in Asian Wrestling Championship; said nation is proud of his achievement.
Prime Minister Modi wrote on his twitter, “Congratulations to Bajrang Punia for securing the Gold in Asian Wrestling Championship. India is very proud of his exemplary accomplishment.”
Cricketer Virender Sehwag wrote on his microblogging handle “
#BajrangPunia ,many Congratulations for winning the Gold in Asian Wrestling Championship. Jai Bajrang Bali, tod di Dushman ki Nalli !”
Overall there were thousands of congratulatory messages for the Indian Wrestler including the prominent names from Politics and sports. And the wishes kept coming as this report was published.
Speaking about the win, “Won gold because of blessings of the people, our coaches work really hard with us”, said Bajrang Punia.
(With Inputs from PTI)