Indian Wrestler Bajrang Punia Aims Historic Gold After Reaching Final Of World Championships

| October 22 , 2018 , 17:46 IST

India's ace wrestler Bajrang Punia on Sunday has scripted history by reaching the final of the World Wrestling Championships in the men's freestyle 65 kg in Budapest. He is just a step away from becoming India's second gold medallist after he knocked out Alejandro Valdes Tobier of Cuba by 4-3.

In a close contest on, the Indian staved off a late threat from his Cuban rival who narrowed down the lead from 4-1 to 4-3 before emerging as the deserving winner.

Two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar is the only Indian to have won the gold medal at the World Championships in 2010 in Moscow in the 66kg category

According to media reports Bajrang Punia said, "I am much relieved after two close bouts. I knew he is a good wrestler but he was very desperate in the second period. He attacked unexpectedly which helped him gain two points in the last minute."

"When opponent is down, he normally goes all out attack in the last minute. I was trying to defend my lead but I need to be careful about this in the final. I have lost crucial points in the last couple of bouts in dying seconds and can't repeat the same," he added.

The Indian wrestler also, "I watched a bit of it after my match. He was overpowering against his Russian rival. I will watch his video and plan how to tackle him along with my coaching staff."

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The first period of the semi-final was not as tense as one expected it to be. The Indian was too good with his defence and attacked the Cuban's legs. On the first takedown, he opened his account with two points but conceded one for a step out to his opponent.

But Punia added two more points for another takedown to lead 4-1 at the end of the first period.

The first three minutes of the second period proved to be very defensive as the Cuban ably avoided the Indian but in the last minute attacked well and earned two points for the takedown and another for a step out by the Indian.

But the Indian used his strong defence to ensure that he did not relax yet again and give away unnecessary points with 20-odd seconds to go.