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18th Asian Games : India Bags First Gold Courtesy Gritty Wrestler Bajrang Punia

Picture Courtesy : Hindustan Times
Picture Courtesy : Hindustan Times

India have begun their medal hunting campaign at the 18th Asian Games in style. It won it’s first Gold. And once again a wrestler from Haryana has done the nation proud.

An in-form and gritty Haryana wrestler Bajrang Punia won his maiden Asian Games gold in the 65kg category. Bajrang, who came into the Games after winning three tournaments — the Commonwealth Games, the Tbilisi Grand Prix, and the Yasar Dogu International. He was simply sensational and produced a performance which had been expected of him in the build-up to the Games. Such was his domination that the 24-year-old won all his bouts, until the final, by technical superiority.

He outclassed Uzbekistan’s Sirojiddin Khasanov (13-3), Tajikistan’s Fayziev Abdulqosim (12-2) and Mongolia’s N Batmagnai Batchuluu (10-0) to storm into the gold medal bout.

In the final, he was tested by Japan’s Takatani Daichi but the Haryana grappler held his nerve to prevail 10-8 in an exciting battle.

Bajrang emulated his mentor Yogeshwar Dutt, who had won gold in the last edition. Kartar Singh (1978, 1986), Satpal Singh (1982), Rajinder Singh (1978), Changdi Ram (1970) and Maruti Mane (1962) are the other wrestlers who form India’s golden club at Asiad.

However after Bajrang’s stunning feat, Indian wrestling team suffered a huge shock as seasoned Sushil Kumar lost his last chance to add an Asiad yellow metal to his rich collection after losing the qualification bout 3-5 to Bahrain’s Adam Batirov in the 74 kg category.

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