Tokyo Olympic-bound freestyle wrestler Deepak Punia added the 86kg silver medal to India’s tally while Sanjeet won a bronze medal in 92kg as the Asian Wrestling Championships came to an end in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Sunday. The Indian contingent thus finished their campaign with 14 medals (5 gold, 3 silver and 6 bronze).
Deepak Punia wins maiden Asian Wrestling Championships silver
Deepak Punia, who earlier had two bronze medals from the Asian Wrestling Championships, was looking to win gold for the first time after a strong start in 86kg. The World Championships silver medallist notched up a 9-2 win over Isa Shapiev and a 4-3 win over Tajikistan’s Bakhodur Kodirov to make his way to the last-four. There he dominated Korea’s Gwanuk Kim 2-0 to seal his place in the final.
However, Iran’s reigning world and Olympic champion Hassan Yazdan proved too strong for the 22-year-old in the final bout. Yazdan punished the Indian for his shabby defense and stormed to a win by technical superiority to claim gold.
Sanjeet then claimed the 92kg bronze to help finish India’s challenge at the 2021 Asian Wrestling Championships on a high. The Indian grappler was in no mood to relent as he raced to a 11-8 victory over Uzbekistan’s Rustam Shodiev. This is Sanjeet’s first medal in any senior international competition.
Ravinder (61kg), however, did not have the same luck as he went down 4-14 to Kyrgyzstan’s Ikromzhon Khadzhimurodov.
With Deepak Punia and Sanjeet’s medals, India’s freestyle wrestlers claimed a total of seven medals from the latest edition of the Asian Wrestling Championships. Tokyo Olympic-bound Ravi Kumar Dahiya (57kg) was the only freestyle grappler to win gold from this edition.
In the women’s section, India won seven medals, with Vinesh Phogat (53kg), Anshu (57kg), Sarita Mor (59kg), and Divya Kakran (72kg) bringing home the gold.
India’s Greco-Roman wrestlers drew a blank at the 2021 Asian Wrestling Championships.