Bajrang Punia's loss to Haji Aliyev ended his quest for a gold medal at Olympics 2021. After trailing for most of the bout in the 65kg category, the Indian grappler attempted a comeback in the final minute. But Aliyev's brilliance on the day put paid to Punia’s hopes, as the wrestler from Azerbaijan walked off a 12-5 winner.
Bajrang still has a shot at the bronze medal. The Indian will face the winner of one of the repechage rounds, which will also be completed tomorrow. Here's more about the repechage rounds and Bajrang Punia's potential opponent in the bronze medal match.
What happens in the repechage rounds?
According to the rules, Bajrang Punia will face the winner of the bout between Adama Diatta and Daulet Niyazbekov, who will battle it out in repechage round one.
Who are the wrestlers competing in repechage round one?
Adama Diatta lost 4-0 to Aliyev in his opening bout. The Senegalese grappler is an eight-time African champion. The 32-year-old is in his third, and probably last, Olympic campaign. He is currently ranked 36th in the world and made his way into the Olympics through the Africa and Oceania qualifiers.
Daulet Niyazbekov is one of the most decorated wrestlers from Kazakhstan. He is a two-time World Championships medalist, which includes a silver at the 2019 edition. After winning his first bout, Niyazbekov was dominated in his quarterfinal by Aliyev. He lost 9-1.
Who among the two has a better chance of facing Bajrang Punia for the bronze medal?
From the two competing in the repechage round one, Daulet Niyazbekov definitely has the advantage. The Kazakh wrestler is ranked World No. 3 and should easily outclass his opponent.
When is the bronze medal bout?
The bronze medal match is scheduled for Saturday. The repechage will be completed first and then the bronze medal match will follow. The timing for Bajrang Punia's medal match has yet to be confirmed.
Where to watch the bronze medal bout?
Sony Sports network holds the official broadcasting rights for the Olympics in India. The Games is being telecast on Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 2, Sony Ten 3 and Sony Six. Live streams of the events are also available on the SonyLIV app. Doordarshan is also broadcasting all the events involving Indians at Olympics 2021.