Asian Wrestling Championship: Dahiya India's lone gold winner, Bajrang fails to break Otugoro jinx

Ravi Dahiya, Gaurav Baliyan and Satyavrat Kadian won silver while defending champion Bajrang Punia lost his final bout to Takuto Otoguro of Japan on Saturday.

Ravi Dahiya celebrates after winning the 57kg final bout against Hikmatullo Vohidov of Tajikistan.   -  shiv kumar pushpakar

On a day Bajrang Punia was expected to raise the Indian flag, the crowd at the KD Jadhav Indoor Stadium had to wait till late night, the last bout of the day to be precise, to listen to the Indian national anthem. Ravi Dahiya was the lone bright spot for the host, expected to rule the medal table in the men’s freestyle category on the day but managing only a handful of silvers instead on Day Five of the Senior Asian Wrestling Championships here.

Dahiya, who won bronze at the 2019 World Championships in the 57kg to qualify for Tokyo Olympics, began in dominating fashion – a 14-5 win against former world champion Yuki Takahashi of Japan – and ended the same way, thrashing Hikmatullo Vohidov of Tajikistan 10-0 in 2 minutes 38 seconds for the title.

Bajrang, though, failed to find a way past the nippy and strong Takuto Otoguro of Japan, whom he last played in the 2018 World Championships final, with the same result. Having dominated his initial bouts, conceding just two points through three matches, Bajrang was expected to put up a tough fight. Instead, the Indian Olympic medal hope succumbed to 10-2 defeat.

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Satyavrat Kadian, who overwhelmed his opponents in under one minute in both his morning bouts to reach his maiden final in the competition, was no match for two-time Under-23 world champion Mojtaba Mohammadshafie Goleij of Iran in the 97kg, losing 10-0.

Gaurav Baliyan was the only one to put up a decent fight in the final, going down 7-5 in the 79kg category to Arsalan Budazhapov of Kyrgyzstan with most of the points being scored in the last 30 seconds of the match.

Naveen was the only one to not make the final, losing 2-3 to Amirhossein Ali Hosseini of Iran in the semis before going down 12-1 to Meirzhan Ashirov of Kazakhstan in the bronze medal play-off.

The results:

57kg: 1. Ravi Dahiya (IND), 2. Hikmatullo Vohidov (TJK), 3. Yuki Takahashi (JPN), Bekbolot Myrzanazar Uulu (KGZ); 65kg: 1. Takuto Otoguro (JPN), 2. Bajrang Punia (IND), 3. Amirhossein Azim Maghsoudi (IRI), Daulet Niyazbekov (KAZ); 70kg: 1. Ilyas Bekbulatov (UZB), 2. Amirhossein Ali Hosseini (IRI), 3. Islambek Orozbekov (KGZ), Meirzhan Ashirov (KAZ); 79kg: 1. Arsalan Budazhapov (KGZ), 2. Gourav Baliyan (IND), 3. Ali Bakhtiar Savadkouhi (IRI), Shinkichi Okui (JPN); 97kg: 1. Mojtaba Mohammedshafie Goleij (IRI), 2. Satyavrat Kadiyan (IND), 3. Alisher Yergali (KAZ), Rustam Iskandari (TJK).
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