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Bajrang, Ravi dominate; reach final at Asian Championship

Bajrang, Ravi dominate; reach final at Asian Championship
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Highlights

Bajrang Punia's improved leg defence was on display as he reached the gold medal match along with three more Indians, including Ravi Dahiya, on the opening day of men's freestyle competition at the Asian Wrestling Championship here on Saturday.

New Delhi : Bajrang Punia's improved leg defence was on display as he reached the gold medal match along with three more Indians, including Ravi Dahiya, on the opening day of men's freestyle competition at the Asian Wrestling Championship here on Saturday.

In a strong performance, Bajrang conceded only two points en route to the final, where he will meet Japan's Takuto Otoguro in a repeat of 2018 World Championship final.

Poor leg defence and conceding a big lead in the first period has troubled Bajrang for some time but none of the issues cropped up Saturday as he remained strong from the beginning in the 65kg competition.

He won all his bouts by technical superiority, beating Tajikistan's Dzhamshed Shafirov, Ubbekistan's Abbos Rakhmonov and Iran's Amirhossein Azim Maghsoudi.

In 57kg, Ravi Dahiya, who is fast emerging a strong contender at the Tokyo Games, too put up a strong show beating Japan's Yuki Takahashi (14-5) before pinning Mongolia's Tugs Batjargal.

In the semifinal, Uzbekistan's Nurislam Sanayev too could not challenge Ravi much. He will now take on Tajikistan's Hikmatullo Vohidov. Also reaching the gold medal bouts were Gourav Baliyan (79kg) and Satywart Kadiyan (97kg).

Of the five Indian in action today, it was only Naveen who missed out on final appearance in the 70kg category. He lost his semifinal to Iran's Amirhossein Ali Hosseini 2-3. He will now fight for bronze with Kazkahstan's Meirzhan Ashirov.

Pakistan wrestlers''stay sponsored by world body:

The three-member Pakistan squad and 17 others from different countries are competing at the ongoing Asian Wrestling Championship with the financial support of world governing body UWW.

The National Federations are supposed to pay for their travelling squads but the United World Wrestling (UWW) recently decided to support nations who are not financially strong.

Tayab Raza (97kg), Zaman Anwar (125kg) and Muhammad Bilal (61kg) are competing from Pakistan and their stay has been sponsored by the UWW while coach Rashid Khan has managed his expenses on his own.

"It's not just Pakistan but wrestlers from Jordan and Cambodia have all been sponsored by UWW. They want to promote nations who are not financially very strong," WFI Secretary Vinod Tomar told PTI.

The UWW has taken care of the wrestlers' stay in India's national capital but Federations have managed the travel cost. The cost of one wrestler's stay is 180 Swiss Francs which is approximately Rs 13,200. So for three Pakistani wrestlers for four days it comes to little more than Rs 1,50,000.

It has also been learnt that the Pakistani wrestlers were initially given a hotel in Kaushambi, which falls in Uttar Pradesh, but the hotel staff drew attention to the fact that they have visa only for New Delhi. Tomar admitted that Pakistanis were eventually shifted to a hotel in New Delhi.

"They were put in a hotel near Kadkaddooma and they have been given a car as well to manage their transportation from hotel to the venue," he said. Raza acknowledged the support they have received from the UWW and the Wrestling Federation of India in facilitating the trip to Delhi.

"UWW wants to promote wrestling, so they are supporting us but I am not sure what kind of support they are giving. You have to ask the federation if it's financial support.

I know that they want us to participate in events," said Tayab. Zaman said no one in Pakistan expected that they will be granted visas to travel to New Delhi.

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