Bajrang Punia will face Rio Olympics bronze medallist Haji Aliyev of Azerbaijan in the semis after recording a victory via fall over Iran’s Morteza Ghiasi in the quarter-final.
India’s star wrestler Bajrang Punia stormed to the 65kg men’s freestyle semi-final with a victory by fall over Iran’s Morteza Ghiasi. Bajrang was trailing 0-1 throughout the bout but managed to pin Ghiasi in the second period and sealed the victory.
Bajrang will now face Rio 2016 bronze medallist Haji Aliyev of Azerbaijan in the semi-finals.
He earlier beat Kazakhstan’s Ernazar Akmataliev in the pre-quarters by criteria. Bajrang raced to a 3-1 lead in the first period of his first round bout. Akmataliev, however, came back by pushing Bajrang out of bounds twice in the second period. Bajrang somehow managed to defend the last eight seconds successfully, thus taking the bout on criteria with the scoreline 3-3.
Bajrang is one of India’s biggest medal hopes from the wrestling contingent at the Tokyo Games. He won gold at the 2018 Asian Games then won silver at the 2019 World Championships. The latter result helped him qualify for Tokyo 2020.