Tokyo Olympics: Bajrang Punia qualifies for quarterfinals after defeating Ernazar Akmataliev

Tokyo [Japan]: Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia progressed into the quarter-finals of the men’s freestyle 65kg event at the Tokyo Olympics after defeating Ernazar Akmataliev of Kyrgyzstan here at the Makuhari Messe Hall A — Mat A on Friday. The bout between Bajrang and Akmataliev ended with a score of 3-3 but the Indian prevailed because he had the criteria with him (higher point-scoring move, a 2-pointer in the first period) in the 1/8 Final.
The number two seed Indian started the match very aggressively but Kyrgyzstan’s grappler defended well with his upper body strength. Soon, the referee took notice of Akmataliev’s passivity and incurred a shot clock against him which gave Bajrang his first point of the match. Ernazar soon pegged one back against Indian and levelled the match. In the dying seconds of the first half, Bajrang took the benefit of a leg slip from the Kyrgyzstan wrestler and pounced to achieve the two points takedown.
The 27-year-old Indian star gathered another point in the second half but Akmataliev came back with force as he threw Bajrang out of the mat two times to level the bout in the dying seconds of the match. With seconds on the clock, Bajrang defended with all agility to move into the next round.
Bajrang Punia will now face Iran’s Morteza Ghiasi Cheka in the last 8. Earlier in the day, Seema Bisla lost to Tunisia’s Sarra Hamdi in the Women’s Freestyle 50kg, 1/8 Final. Hamdi edged Seema 3-1 to cruise into the quarter-finals.

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