Asian Wrestling Championships: Ravi Dahiya wins gold; silver for Bajrang and Gourav

Ravi Dahiya won gold, Bajrang Punia and Gourav Baliyan took silver while Naveen and Satywart clinched bronze medals to continue India's impressive campaign at the continental event.

Ravi Dahiya after winning the Asian wrestling championship gold medal.   -  Special Arrangement

Olympic silver medallist Ravi Kumar Dahiya became the first Indian wrestler to claim three successive gold medals in the Asian wrestling championships in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on Saturday.

Olympic bronze medallist Bajrang Punia (65kg) and Gourav Baliyan (79kg) took silver medals, while Naveen (70kg) and Satyawart Kadian (97kg) picked up bronze as India collected five medals on day one of men's freestyle bouts.

In the 57kg final, Ravi was 0-2 down against Kazakh wrestler Rakhat Kalzhan. However, the determined Indian came back spectacularly to establish an 8-2 lead, which included three superb takedowns and a flip.

Two-time defending champion Ravi continued to display his supremacy as he widened his lead to 12-2 and won because of technical superiority.

 

Earlier, Ravi recorded comprehensive wins over Japan’s Rikuto Arai (15-4) in the quarterfinals and local favourite and former Asian silver medallist Zanabazar Zandanbud (12-5) in the semifinals to enter the title clash.

Bajrang defeated Uzbekistan’s Abbos Rakhmonov 3-0 in the last-eight and Bahrain’s Haji Mohammad Ali 3-1 in the last-four to make it to his fourth straight final. He lost to World junior champion Iranian Rahman Amouzadkhalili 3-1 in the gold medal match, which was loaded with defensive moves from both.

Trailing 0-1 after the opening period due to passivity, Bajrang managed to draw parity. But the Iranian attacked the Olympic medallist’s right leg and converted it to a decisive takedown.

This was Bajrang’s third consecutive silver and eighth continental medal.

"I agree that Bajrang is not where we would have liked to see him at this stage, but there are a lot of reason behind that," Bajrang's personal coach Sujeet Maan told PTI.

"He missed a few tournaments and practice due to injury, there was no physio with him, so we lost time. We also could not train at a high-altitude place to prepare well for this tournament," he added.

"It takes time to get back to best. Bajrang was competing after many months, so it's natural that there's a bit of hesitation."

Gourav, a silver medallist two years ago, saw off Turkmenistan’s Gurbanmyrat Ovezberdiyev 10-0 and 2020 Asian champion Kyrgyz Arsalan Budazhapov 8-5 to reach the summit clash. He fought back nicely to level the scores with two-time Asian medallist Iranian Ali Bakhtiar Savadkouhi on 9-9, but lost the final as Iranian had a higher scoring move of four points earlier in the bout.

Naveen defeated Turkmenistan’s Perman Hommadov 11-0 but lost to Worlds medallist Ernazar Akmataliev of Kyrgyzstan 6-3. He beat Mongolian Temuul Enkhtuya ‘by fall’ in the bronze medal match.

Satyawart beat Asian bronze medallist Takashi Ishiguro 5-0 but went down against Iranian Askari Mohammadian 10-0. He outsmarted Turkmenistan’s Zyyamuhammet Saparov 10-0 to collect his fourth bronze medal.

(With inputs from PTI)

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