Bajrang Punia on his CWG medal: Gold is sign of my improvement

Apr 14, 2018, 08:53 IST | V Krishnaswamy

65kg champion Punia insists he was keen to better last CWG's silver show; grapplers Pooja Dhanda, Mausam Khatri win silver, Divya Kakran gets bronze

Bajrang Punia (in blue) wrestles with Wales’ Kane Charig in the freestyle 65kg final yesterday. Pic/AFP
Bajrang Punia (in blue) wrestles with Wales' Kane Charig in the freestyle 65kg final yesterday. Pic/AFP

Bajrang Punia, an understudy of Olympic medallist Yogeshwar Dutt, was the lone gold medallist for India on the second day of the wrestling competition yesterday.

While Bajrang won the gold in men's 65kg category, there were two silver medals, one each from Pooja Dhanda (57kg) and Mausam Khatri (97kg) while Divya Kakran (68kg) settled for a bronze medal. Bajrang, 24, who was second at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 61kg, thus improved on that medal with a gold. On the first day of wrestling, India won two gold, a silver and a bronze and with yesterday's haul of one gold, two silver and one bronze, the total now is three gold, three silver and two bronze.

Wrestler Bajrang with gold medal and Pooja Dhanda with her silver
Wrestler Bajrang with gold medal and Pooja Dhanda with her silver

Today is the final day for wrestling. Bajrang dominated his weight category, winning all four bouts, including the final by technical superiority gained by taking lead of 10 or more points. His final against Welshman Kane Charig lasted just over a minute during which he scored 10 points against none. "This gold medal proves the significant improvement in my wrestling career as I won silver at the last Commonwealth Games. I was competitive in all four bouts.

I was well-prepared for the competition," said Bajrang. "I didn't see the time but I wanted to finish (the final) it as quickly as possible." On the way to his first major gold medal, Bajrang beat Kiwi Brahm Richards, Nigeria's Amas Daniel, and Canada's Vincent De Marinis. In the women's 57kg, Pooja had her chances, but was unable to close out against defending champion Odunayo Adekuoroye. The Indian girl trailed 1-6 in the first period, but despite winning the second 4-1, she lost out 5-7 and with it had to settle for a silver.

Divya Kakran with her bronze and Silver medallist Mausam Khatri
Divya Kakran with her bronze and Silver medallist Mausam Khatri

"I lacked in attack and could not take my chances. "I would look to change the colour of the medal next time. It was hard luck for me and India," Pooja admitted. Another silver medal came from Mausam Khatri, who was making his debut at the Games.

The former Asian Games bronze-medallist had a smooth passage into the final, before going down to South African Martin Erasmus, who won 12-2. Earlier, Divya Kakran lost to Nigeria's two-time CWG medallist Blessing Oborududu in the semi-final but recovered quickly to easily get past Bangladesh's Sherin Sultana for a bronze medal in the repachage.

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