Where it was a gleaming smile for 2018 Asian Games gold medallist Vinesh Phogat in ongoing World Wrestling Championships 2019, ace Indian grapplers, on the other hand, Bajrang Punia and Ravi Kumar faced big blows in the prestigious event. Both the star wrestlers had easily qualified for the semi-final round in the grand tournament but at the final-four stage both Punia and Kumar lost their respective bouts.
When on one side, world champion Punia fell short against local lad Daulet Niyazbekov, Kumar on the other side, shocked by Zavur Uguev of Russia in the semis by 4-6 verdict. However, the Indian mates already booked their seats for Tokyo Olympics 2020 and now fight for the bronze medal on Friday.
The World Championship Silver medalist Punia made his way to the semifinals after defeating North Korean grappler Jong Son in the 65 kg category at quarterfinals. He outplayed the Korean star by 8-1 margin. Before that, he beat David Habat of Slovakia by 3-0 scoreline in the pre-quarterfinals bout. The 25-year-old freestyle wrestler kicked-off his grand campaign with a 9-2 win over Krzysztof Bienkowski of Poland.
Meanwhile, Ravi Kumar secured his seat in the semifinals after beating former World Champion Yuki Takahashi in quarter-finals. He stunned the Japanese freestyle wrestler by 6-1 margin in the 57-kg weight category. In the pre-quarter-final stage, he outclassed Arsen Harutyunyan of Armenia in an edgy nail-biter. He shocked the professional wrestling giant by 17-6 scoreline. While in the campaign opener Kumar thrashed Sunggwon Kim of Korea with a great margin of 11-0.
After all the hardships and struggle both Punia and Kumar reached the semis but unfortunately went down in the semi-finals. Though they still have a chance to improve their performance in the bronze medal bout on Friday. It will be interesting to see whether the Indian superstars will register win in their respective rounds or not.
In other results, the outstanding female wrestler Sakshi Malik also lost her repechange bout against Aminat Adeniyi of Nigeria on Thursday. The Nigerian edged past the Indian veteran by 7-10 margin in 62-kg women’s category at World Wrestling Championships 2019.