Bajrang keeps himself in medal race, reaches semis at Worlds

Asian Games gold medallist Bajrang Punia reached the semis of the men's 65kg free style competition by beating Mongolia’s Tulga Tumur Ochi 5-3 in the quarter-finals at the World Championship.

Bajrang Punia set up Alejandro Enrique Valdes Tobier of Cuba in the semifinals later on Sunday.   -  AP

Star Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia kept himself in the medal hunt by reaching the semifinals even as three of his compatriots faded in the men’s free style competition at the World Championship, here on Sunday.

The Commonwealth Games and Asian Games gold medallist held off a late charge from Mongolia’s Tulga Tumur Ochir to register a 5-3 win in the 65kg quarter-finals.

Bajrang had a comfortable 4-1 lead but conceded points late in the bout, including one for the neutral position and two for takedown.

The 24-year-old, a bronze medal winner at the 2013 edition, though held nerves to stay in the race for his second medal at the Worlds.

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Earlier, Bajrang defeated Roman Asharin 9-4 in the first round and beat Korean Lee Seungchul 4-0.

The Indian will take on Alejandro Enrique Valdes Tobier of Cuba in the semifinals later on Sunday.

In other bouts of the day, Sandeep Tomar began in stupendous fashion but could not sustain the momentum. He outclassed his Guatemala opponent Jose Mox Arias by technical superiority in the 57kg category but lost the second round to Azerbaijan’s Giorgi Edisherashvili.

Sachin Rathi was outplayed 1-13 by Mongolian wrestler Unurbat Purevjav in the 79kg qualification round.

Deepak, competing in the 92kg, lost his pre-quarterfinal bout 0-4 to Liubomyr Sagaliuk of Ukraine.