“A wounded lion is more dangerous than a hungry one”— it is a proverb the injured Bajrang Punia epitomized perfectly on Saturday.
The Indian grappler did not give an inch to his opponent throughout the contest and emerged victorious with superior moves in his debut Olympic sojourn.
Over the course of the tournament, Bajrang Punia’s knee strap grabbed more attention than it should have. However, the Indian did not have the strapping on Saturday, an indication that his knee was doing better.
The Indian grappler started on an aggressive note but neither wrestler opened their account in the first minute.
Bajrang Punia drew first blood when Daulet Niyazbekov was given a passivity warning and he failed to score in the 30 seconds time limit.
The Indian made it 2-0 when he pushed his opponent off the mat from a move arising when Daulet Niyazbekov took Bajrang Punia in a headlock. However, Bajrang Punia’s defense was good and he flipped the move instantly.
Bajrang Punia went for a gut wrench takedown and even though Daulat Niyazbekov defended it well, the Indian soon locked his opponent in an ankle lock to lead 4-0.
Bajrang Punia's superior moves
A desperate Daulet Niyazbekov went for the lunge soon after but Bajrang evaded it in style. As the clock was ticking down, Bajrang took Niyazbekov down again to get into an unasailable 8-0 lead.
Earlier, Bajrang Punia and Daulet Niyazbekov had faced each other in the semifinals of the 2019 UWW World Championships. Niyazbekov won the match despite a 9-9 score as the Kazakh wrestler registered a higher scoring move.
Also read: Top 5 #PalatDe Moments of Bajrang Punia
Earlier on Friday, Bajrang Punia lost 5-12 to three-time world medalist Haji Aliyev of Azerbaijan in an action-packed semifinal.
Although there was a lot of talk about his injured knee his coach Shako Bentinidis said unfair referring cost Bajrang Punia the semifinal. Shako claimed “the referee killed the game psychologically” for the grappler.