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New Delhi, February 22, 2020
Ravi Dahiya was the only gold medal winner among the four Indian finalists on the penultimate day of the Asian Wrestling Championships here on Saturday.
Hot favourite Bajrang Punia (65Kg), Gourav Baliyan (79Kg) and Satywart Kadian (97Kg) failed in their respective title bids and settled for silver, while Naveen(70Kg) missed his shot at the bronze.
Ravi outclassed Tajik grappler Vohidov Hikmatullo 10-0 to win the hosts' only gold of the day in the 57Kg freestyle category.
Before making it to the final, Dahiya, the 2019 World Championship bronze medalist, showed immense resilience as he made it through the qualifiers defeating Japanese Takahashi Yuki 14-5 and followed it up by a clinical quarter-final win of 6-3 over Batjargal Tugs of Mongolia. He prevailed over Nurislam Sanayev of Kazakhstan in the semi-final 7-2.
Japanese Otoguro Takuto shattered Punia's dream with a 10-2 win in the gold medal bout of the 65Kg category. Punia was aiming for his third gold medal in the championship. Earlier today, on his way to the final, Punia overcame Iran’s Maghsoudi Amirhossein Azim by a resounding margin of 10-0 in his penultimate bout of the tournament.
Last year’s bronze medalist Satywart Kadian settled for a silver medal against two-time Under 23 World champion and wrestler of the year 2019 Iranian Goleij Mojtaba Mohammadshafie. The 97kg category saw Kadian lose 0-10 to his Iranian opponent.
Kadian's run-up to the gold medal bout included a 10-0 win over Tajik Iskandari Rustam in the semi-final and Shishani Zaid Husein Mohamad Haroun of Jordan 10-0 in the quarter-final.
Gourav Baliyan (79Kg), who fought his first Asian Wrestling Championship tonight, showed promise as he narrowly went down to an experienced Kyrgyz Budazhapov Arsalan 5-7 to settle for a silver medal. Before this loss, Gourav showcased great composure and skills defeating Japan’s Okui Shinkichi 6-5 in the semi-final
Speaking after the game, Gourav said, “My aim was to win gold. My opponent is a good wrestler and his last move worked out. Seven seconds was too less to get another point."
Naveen (70Kg) lost out on his bronze medal going down 1-12 to Ashirov Meirzhan of Kazakhstan. The Indian had lost to Iran’s Hosseini Amirhossein Ali 3-2 in the semi-final.