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Asian Games 2018: Wrestler Bajrang Punia wins First Gold Medal for India

Ayush Verma
294   //    20 Aug 2018, 15:09 IST

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Young wrestler Bajrang Punia eased past his Japanese counterpart to bring India's first Gold Medal on Day 1 of the 2018 Asian Games, Jakarta in Indonesia. Bajrang secured India's first Gold medal at the eighteenth edition of the Asiads after beating Japan's Takatani Daichi by 11-8 in the men's freestyle wrestling in Jakarta on Sunday.

Punia was brilliant in his run into the finals of the 65kg freestyle wrestling category. Bajrang, who won Silver in 61kg weight category in 2014 Incheon Asian Games, got a bye in his first round bout and later won all his bouts based on technical superiority.

Punia defeated Uzbekistan's wrestler Sirojiddin (13-3), Tajikistan's grappler Fayziev Abdulqosim (12-2) and Mongolia's N Batmagnai Batchuluu (10-0) to cruise into the Gold Medal fight with Japan's Takati Daichi.

This was Bajrang's first Gold Medal in Asian Games as he has won a Bronze in 2013 World Championship and a Gold & Silver in 2018 and 2014 Commonwealth Games respectively.

In the Gold Medal fight on Sunday, Bajrang has taken a comfortable 6-0 lead before Japan's Daichi made it 4-6 in the first period. Both the wrestlers had a hard time in the second period but Bajrang held on to his basics to win the finals.

Meanwhile, in the 86kh men's freestyle category, Pawan Kumar lost the Bronze Medal bout 1-8 to Mongolian grappler crashing out of the medal contention. India wrapped up it's Day 1 wrestling fray on the first day with just one medal as Pawan loses his Bronze medal bout while Sushil Kumar, Mausam Khatri and Sandeep Tomar were knocked out.

Apart from wrestling, Indian Kabaddi team proved their excellence once again as they beat minnows Sri Lanka by 44-28 in the second match of Group A. India started their campaign at the Asian Games 2018 with a 50-21 win over Bangladesh.

At the end of the Day 1 of 2018 Asian Games, China, as expected led the medal tally with 16 medals (7 Gold, 5 Silver, 4 Bronze) who were followed by second positioned Japan 14 (3 Gold, 6 Silver, 5 Bronze) and third in the tally remained Korea with 10 medals (2 Gold, 3 Silver, 5 Bronze). India just managed to get two medals on day one in 10m Air Rifle Mixed event and 65kg freestyle wrestling category. India looks ahead to better their 2014 Asian Games for which they have sent 570 athletes in 32 different games.

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