India started their campaign in men’s freestyle wrestling on a high with Bajrang Punia and Praveen Rana storming into the final of their respective weight categories in the Asian Wrestling Championships in Xi’an, China on Tuesday. World No.1 Bajrang comfortably defeated Uzbekistan’s Sirojiddin Khasanov 12-1 in the semifinals to make it to the gold medal bout of 65kg.
He will clash with Sayatbek Okassov of Kazakhstan for top honours later in the day. Earlier in the day, he overcame Peyman Biabani of Iran and Charles Fern of Sri Lanka in his previous rounds. Parveen Rana also entered the final in the 79kg category after a 3-2 win over Kazakhstan’s Galymzhan Usserbayev. He will face Bahman Mohammad Teymouri of Iran in his gold-medal bout. Earlier, he defeated Yuta Abe of Japan and Mongolia’s Tugs Erdene Denzensharav.
In the 57kg weight division, Ravi Kumar entered the bronze medal play-off round after winning his repechage against Chia Tso Liu of Taipei 4-0. Ravi will be up against Yuki Takahashi of Japan. Satywart Kadian, too, reached the bronze medal round in 97kg. Kadian lost to Batzul Ulziisaikhan in his quarterfinal bout but went on to make the cut after his Mongolian rival reached the final.
Meanwhile, Rajneesh bowed out of the tournament early in the 70kg category.