'To Tokyo to take what is ours,' is what Bajrang Punia tweeted when he was leaving for the Olympics 2021. A week later, he seems to be on his way to fulfill his promise. The Indian has qualified for the semifinal bout in the men's 65kg freestyle event.
Punia did not have the most ideal of starts. In the first round bout, he seemed to be holding off his opponent but only by the barest of margins. He made very few attacking moves and preferred defense. The score at the end of the bout against Ernazer Akmataliev was 3-3. The Indian won because he had made a higher scoring move.
The trend seemed to continue in the quarter-finals for Bajrang Punia. The top seed received two passivity warnings during the bout against Iran's Morteza Ghiasi Cheka. However, the 27-year-old showed that his passivity was by choice only. He made just one advanced attacking move in the quarter-final bout and that won him the contest via a victory by fall.
This one bold move showed that Punia was in control despite it looking as if he was not having the best of times on the mat. He will now play in the semi-final bout and will be in action later today. Punia needs just one win to secure a medal for India.
Bajrang Punia vs Haji Aliyev semifinal bout
The Indian will face Azerbaijan's Haji Aliyev in their semi-final bout. Aliyev won his first-round match with a score of 4-0. The Azerbaijan grappler followed that result up by upsetting third seed Niyazbekov with a 9-1 victory in the quarterfinals.
The contest is scheduled to begin at 2:55PM IST and will be played on Mat B of the Makuhari Messe Hall.
Where to watch Bajrang Punia's semi-final match?
Sony Sports Network has the official broadcasting rights for the Olympics in India. The games will be telecast on Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 2, Sony Ten 3 and Sony Six. Live streams of the event will be available on the Sony LIV app. Doordarshan will also broadcast all the Indian events at Olympics 2021.
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