first_imgWorld No. 1 Bajrang Punia was on course to end his gold medal drought at World Wrestling Championships in Nur-Sultan before a heartbreaking defeat in the semi-finals of the men’s 65kg freestyle category on Thursday.Bajrang had headed into the World Championships on the back of impressive results. The top seed eased past opponents and made light work of North Korea’s Jong Choi Son 8-1 in the quarter-finals to secure an Olympic quota for India in the men’s 65kg event.However, in the semi-final against home wrestler Daulet Niyazbekov, Bajrang Punia’s dreams of finishing on the top step of the podium came crashing down.Bajrang began the bout on the backfoot, trailing Niyazbekov 2-0 and fell further when the Kazak wrestler came up with a 4-point throw at the start of the 2nd period. The Indian corner challenged the referee’s decision to award the 4-point hold even as the move was seemingly initiated by Bajrang.Bajrang lost the challenge and Niyazbekov extended the lead to 7-2. However, with the clock ticking down, Bajrang came up with an aggressive approach and put immense pressure on the home wrestler. Just when it looked Bajrang would do enough to seal a place in the final, the bout ended at 9-9 and Niyazbekov won by criteria.The result came down to the 4-point hold that went in favour of Daulet Niyazbekov at the start of the second period.According to Article 31 of United World Wrestling rulebook, In case of a tie by points, the winner will be declared by successively considering: – the highest value of holds; – the least amount of cautions; – the last technical point(s) scored.advertisement Screengrab from United World WrestlingDespite Bajrang scoring the last 2 points, Niyazbekov sealed the final berth due to the 4-point hold.Nonetheless, there was questionable refereeing throughout the semi-final bout as Bajrang Punia was left frustrated when Niyazbekov wasn’t warned for taking the time to catch his breath in between points. Bajrang’s frustration was so much so that he signalled to the referees midway during the 2nd period.The challenge that did not go in favour of Bajrang also played a decisive role in what was a mixed day for the top-ranked Indian wrestler.Bajrang will now fight for the bronze medal in the 65kg category on Friday. Bajrang though has sealed India’s Tokyo Olympics quota in the 65kg category.Earlier in the day, Ravi Kumar came up with impressive showings to seal an Olympic quota in the men’s 57kg freestyle category. Ravi, though, lost to world champion Zaur Uguev 4-6 in the 57kg freestyle event semi-finals and he will also battle for bronze in Nur-Sultan.Also Read | Amit Panghal, Manish Kaushik seal places in Olympics qualifiers with World Championships medalsAlso See:last_img

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