Rahul Aware wins India’s fifth medal at Wrestle Nur Sultan. Aware beat USA’s Tyler Graff 11-4 to win a bronze in 61kg class, a non-Olympic category. In other Men’s freestyle category Deepak Punia settled for silver after withdrawing from his gold-medal bout. This is not an Olympic category which will help Aware secure a Tokyo berth.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Aware got off to a brilliant start to his challenge on Friday with an astounding 13-2 victory over Turkmenistan’s Kerim Hojakov. Against Kazakhstan’s Rassul Kaliyev in the quarters, Aware had to dig deep and relied on his finesse to secure a 10-7 victory. He, however, did not have it going his way in the semis where he lost 6-10 to Beka Lomtadze of Georgia and thus reached the bronze medal match.
This was India’s fifth medal at the World Wrestling Championship and the fourth bronze as well.
Earlier in the day, India’s upcoming star Deepak Punia (86kg) pulled out of the summit clash of the Wrestling World Championships due to injury. He has to settle for silver.
According to reports, Punia’s leg is injured and he has an eye swelling too. It is believed that he picked up both injuries during the first round.
The 19-year-old, who became the youngest Indian ever to make it to the final of the World Championships, also bagged a Tokyo 2020 Olympic quota in the process on Saturday.
Deepak Punia, who also won the World Cadet title in 2016, was the fourth Indian grappler to book a Tokyo ticket this week, following Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia and Ravi Kumar Dahiya.
While each of them pocketed a bronze medal, Deepak would be the only Indian to return home with a silver.
(With IANS inputs)