Ravi Dahiya, Deepak Punia storm into semi-final, Anshu Malik's repechage hopes alive


It was a bright Wednesday morning for India as Ravi Dahiya and Deepak Punia stormed into the semi-final in dominating fashion. Both the Indian wrestlers made the most of the easy draw in men’s 57 kg and 86 kg freestyle respectively at the Olympics.

The 19-year-old Anshu Malik, though, lost her opening bout to European champion Iryna Kurachkina of Belarus 2-8 in the women’s 57 kg category.

Ravi Dahiya one step away from Olympic medal

Fourth-seeded Ravi Dahiya had a slow start in the opening bout against Colombia’s Tigreros Urbano. But as he spent more time on the mat, his body started moving better.

Unlike in Poland, the 23-year-old looked in much better shape mentally and physically. He kept his defense intact and focussed on ground wrestling. His relentless single-leg attack on the right of Urbano was enough to get him a 13-2 win with one minute and 10 seconds still remaining on the clock. He won on technical superiority.

Ravi Dahiya, the reigning Asian champion, continued his dominant run against Bulgaria’s Georgi Valentinov Vangelov. Dahiya stuck to his plan in the quarterfinals.

He moved around to tire his opponent but also kept an eye out for openings. It was classic Ravi Dahiya on display as he won the bout 14-4 on technical superiority.

The Haryana-born wrestler will now face 2019 world medalist Nurislam Sanayev in the semi-final.

Deepak Punia to get tested in semifinal

Deepak Punia made the most of an easy draw by getting past Nigeria’s Ekerekeme Agiomor, the African championship bronze medallist. The Nigerian had the power but Deepak was technically sound and won comfortably.

However, there were some nervous moments during the quarterfinal bout against China’s Zushen Lin. It was a close contest for the majority of the six-minute bout but a takedown in the final second helped Deepak Punia march into the last four with a 6-3 win.

He now faces one of the gold medal favorites, David Taylor (USA). The American wrestler, a 2018 world champion, won both his bouts with technical superiority.

Anshu’s repechage hopes alive

Asian champion Anshu made a strong comeback after conceding a 0-4 lead against the Belarusian with two push-out points.

She also managed to get hold of Kurachkina’s right leg but could not complete the move.

On the counter attack, Anshu conceded another two-pointer but kept fighting. The European relied on her experience to prevail.

Anshu’s chances to come back in the competition will depend on whether Kurachkina progresses to the final.

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Edited by SANJAY K K
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