Bajrang clinches first gold for India

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 20 Aug 2018 08:46:32


 

JAKARTA,

Dedicates medal to former PM late Atal Behari Vajpayee

A DOMINATING Bajrang Punia opened India’s gold medal account at the Asian Games, bringing smiles and relief to the Indian camp which was jolted by the early exit of star wrestler Sushil Kumar here on Sunday. An in-form Bajrang won his maiden Asian Games gold in the 65kg category but a ‘rusty’ Sushil lost his last chance to add an Asiad gold to his collection of medals after losing his qualification bout 3-5 to Bahrain’s Adam Batirov in the 74kg category.


Bajrang came into the Games after winning three tournaments — Commonwealth Games, Tbilisi Grand Prix and Yasar Dogu International — and carried on with his superlative show here. Such was his domination that the 24-year-old from Haryana won all his bouts, till the final, by technical superiority. He outclassed Uzbekistan’s Sirojiddin Khasanov (13-3), Tajikistan’s Fayziev Abdulqosim (12-2) and Mongolia’s N Batmagnai Batchuluu (10-0) to storm into the gold medal bout.


In the final, he was tested by Japan’s Takatani Daichi but Bajrang held his nerves to prevail 11-8 in an exciting battle. He raced to a 6-0 lead but the Japanese kept at it and put Bajrang under immense pressure. “I dedicate this gold medal to former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, who passed away recently,” Bajrang said after the final bout.


“Yogi bhai (Olympic medallist Yogeshwar Dutt) told me ‘I did it in 2014, you have to do it in 2018’. When he (Yogeshwar) won, it was huge gap in his and the previous Asiad medal. I wanted to continue with medal,” he added.
Bajrang emulated his mentor Yogeshwar Dutt, who won gold in the last edition, and is now one of the few Asiad gold medal winners in wrestling.


Kartar Singh (1978, 1986), Satpal Singh (1982), Rajinder Singh (1978), Changdi Ram (1970) and Maruti Mane (1962) are among Asiad gold winners from India. A lot was expected from all five wreslters in action today but Sandeep Tomar (57kg), Mausam Khatri (97kg) and Pawan Kumar (86kg) faded out early. Pawan got a chance to redeem his campaign but lost his repechage round by technical superiority (0-11) to local boy Fahriansyah.


The biggest blow though came when two-time Olympic medallist Sushil, who was exempted from Asiad trails, lost tamely. Sushil, winner of a bronze at the 2006 Doha edition, was competing at the Games after skipping the last two editions.


The Indian led 2-1 after the first period with a take down but the Bahraini made a strong comeback to silence the Indian fans. Sushil himself was surprised with his defeat. “I did not expect this. I did not have any big competition under my belt and that was the main reason for my defeat. But it’s part of sport. I will train harder and come back,” said Sushil.


Modi congratulated wrestler Bajrang Punia:PRIME Minister Narendra Modi congratulated wrestler Bajrang Punia for his ‘memorable’ win on Sunday in the Asian Games, winning India her first gold medal.


“Congratulations @BajrangPunia for the memorable victory in the 65 kg freestyle wrestling. This win is even more special because it is India’s first Gold in the @asiangames2018. Best wishes for your future endeavours,” Modi tweeted.