Ravi Kumar Dahiya (Pic: PTI)
Olympic silver medallist wrestler Ravi Kumar Dahiya pulled out of the Bishkek Ranking Series event after suffering a strain on his right knee during warm up while Pankaj shocked U-23 world champion Aman Sehrawat in an all-Indian 61kg quarterfinal, on Sunday.
Having entered in 61kg competition, Ravi was up against Kyrgyzstan's Taiyrbek Zhumashbek Uulu in the Qualification round.
It was Dahiya's first competition since finishing sixth at the World Championship in Belgrade in September 2022.
"Ravi has recovered from his right knee injury that he sustained in January this year but during the warm up, he suffered a strain on the same knee. Since Asian Games trials are near, he decided to pull out of the event as he did not want to risk aggravating the injury," said a member of the Indian support staff.
In the same 61kg category, Pankaj set up a quarterfinal clash fast rising Aman with a confident 8-2 win over Gerogia's Giorgi Goniashvili.
It was Aman, winner of a bronze in Zagreb Open in February this year, who was favourite to win this all-Indian clash but Pankaj emerged winner with a comfortable 8-1 margin.
Pankaj was quick with his counter-attacking moves and it rattled Aman.
Moving to the 70kg semifinals was Mulayam Yadav. He comfortably beat Kazakhstan's Doszhan Asetov 9-4 in his qualification round and followed that up with a confident 6-2 win over Georgia's Davit Patsinashvili. Yadav's defence stood out during his quarterfinal bout.
In 65kg, a category which Bajrang Punia has made his own, Anuj Kumar
lost a close pre-quarterfinal 6-7 to Azerbaijan's Ali Rahimzada.
India did not send any entry for the 74kg, 79kg and 92kg competitions.
India have won four medals so far in the tournament. The women wrestlers won three medals on Saturday while one came through Greco Roman grappler Manjeet.
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