Bajrang Punia wins bronze in World Wrestling Championships

Bajrang Punia beat Puerto Rico’s Sebastian Rivera 11-9 to secure India’s second medal of the event.

This was Bajrang Punia’s fourth medal in the World Championships.

This was Bajrang Punia’s fourth medal in the World Championships. | Photo Credit: PTI

Bajrang Punia beat Puerto Rico’s Sebastian Rivera 11-9 to secure India’s second medal of the event.

Olympic bronze medallist Bajrang Punia beat Puerto Rico’s Sebastian Rivera by the skin of his teeth in a 65kg bronze medal match to claim his fourth medal in the World wrestling championships in Belgrade on Sunday.

Bajrang, who picked up a head injury in the pre-quarterfinal bout and lost to American John Diakomihalis in the quarterfinals before getting back to medal contention on Saturday, rallied from 0-6 down to record an 11-9 victory. It was his third bronze medal other than a silver.

After conceding six points inside 35 seconds, Bajrang fought back with a throw and a takedown to level the scores. Rivera regained the lead through another two-pointer in the first period and later extended it to 9-6.

The never-say-die Bajrang, who wrestled with a bandaged head, closed the gap and overtook Rivera through two takedowns. An unsuccessful video challenge from the Puerto Rican for a move performed just after the last second gifted Bajrang another point.

Earlier, Bajrang erased a 0-4 deficit to register a hard-fought 7-6 victory over Individual World Cup winner Vazgen Tevanyan of Armenia in the repechage round.

India bagged two bronze medals, including one by Vinesh Phogat, in this edition.

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