Easy day for Bajrang, Ravi Dahiya excels in Worlds trials

Presence of proven performer Bajrang in the 65kg trials meant that most of the wrestlers in this category preferred to stay away.

Star wrestler Bajrang Punia needed less than four minutes to book a berth in India’s World Championship squad.   -  FILE PHOTO/ PTI

Promising wrestlers Ravi Dahiya (57kg) and Deepak Punia (86kg) underscored their worth by securing places in the Indian side for the World wrestling championships in Kazakhstan in September. It will serve as the first Olympic qualifying event.

At the selection trials for five of the six men’s freestyle Olympic weight categories held in Delhi on Friday, Dahiya and Punia prevailed over their opponents to stay in the race for berths in the Tokyo Games.

Worlds silver medallist Bajrang Punia (65kg), the seasoned Mausam Khatri (97kg) and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Sumit Malik (125kg) too got selected for the World championships.

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The 57kg weight witnessed some gripping contests. Delhi's Rahul upset Olympian Sandeep Tomar and another experienced hand Utkarsh Kale before being downed by Dahiya in the final.

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Earlier, Dahiya, who had impressed one and all with a string of fabulous performances for champion side Haryana Hammers in the Pro Wrestling League (PWL) earlier this year, had got the better of Worlds junior silver medallist Naveen Sihag.

Punia, another Worlds junior silver medallist and an Asian junior champion last year, defeated 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Pawan Saroha to take the 86kg spot in the National side.

Bajrang outclassed Harphul, while Khatri aced out Satywart Kadian. Sumit got past Satender Malik.

Selection trials for 74kg and the remaining four non-Olympic weights – 61kg, 70kg, 79kg and 92kg – will be held in the second week of August.