Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia’s hopes of winning a gold in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics were shattered when he lost the men’s 65kg freestyle semi-final to Azerbaijan’s Haji Aliyev on Friday. At the end of the first period, Aliyev was in the 4-1 lead and it was up to Bajrang Punia to claw back in the game. However, that was not the case to be as Azerbaijan wrestler soon took an 8-1 lead in the second period. Bajrang fought hard and claimed four points but Aliyev extended his lead by seven points to march into the final. Punia will now fight for bronze on Saturday.
Earlier in the day, he defeated Ernazar Akmataliev of Kyrgyzstan in a tough battle. Punia was in the 3-1 lead with just around three minutes to go. However, a last-minute push by Akmataliev, which got him two points, made the match interesting. The match ended with a scoreline of 3-3 but Punia was declared the winner by virtue of pulling off a higher scoring move that gave him two points.
Meanwhile, debutant wrestler Seema Bisla lost her 50 KG opening round 1-3 to bow out of the tournament. There were hardly any moves in the bout with Hamdi getting two of her three points on push out and one on Seema’s passivity. Sarra Hamdi then lost her next bout, drawing curtains on Seema’s campaign. Seema managed to book her berth in the Olympics after winning the World Olympic Qualifier, held in Sofia in May.