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Tokyo Olympics Wrestling: Ravi Dahiya, Deepak Punia storm into semis, one step away from medal | Other Sports News

It was a bright Wednesday (August 4) for India at the Tokyo Olympics as wrestlers Ravi Kumar Dahiya and Deepak Punia both stormed into semifinals. Ravi Dahiya defeated Bulgaria’s Georgi Vangelov in the 57kg freestyle category with a comprehensive 14-4 margin while Deepak Punia got past China’s Zushen Lin in the 86kg category with a 6-3 margin in the quarterfinal bouts.

Dahiya will now take on Kazakhstan’s Nurislam Sanayev for a right to enter the gold medal fight in the 57kg category while Punia will take on United States’ David Morris Taylor in the semifinal. Both the bouts will take place later in the afternoon on Wednesday. 

Earlier, Dahiya and Punia began their Olympics campaigns with technical superiority victories, reaching the men’s freestyle 57kg and 86kg quarterfinals respectively with ease. The 19-year-old Anshu Malik though lost the women’s 57kg opener to European champion Irina Kurachikina of Belarus 2-8.

The fourth-seeded Dahiya consistently attacked the right leg of Colombia’s Tigreros Urbano and he remained dominant, apart from conceding a take-down in the first period. Dahiya, the reigning Asian champion, nailed the win with one minute and 10 seconds still remaining in the bout, which was stopped after he raced to a winning 13-2 lead.

The Indian effected five take-down moves in the second period, showing his technical prowess. Deepak Punia (freestyle 86kg) made the most of an easy draw by getting past Nigeria’s Ekerekeme Agiomor, the African championship bronze medallist.

The Nigerian had the power but Deepak was technically sound and won comfortably. Asian champion Anshu made a strong comeback after conceding a 0-4 lead against the Belarusian with two push out points.

She also managed to get hold of Kurachikina’s right leg but could not complete the move. On the counter attack, Anshu conceded another two-pointer but kept fighting. The European relied on her experience to prevail.

Anshu’s chances to come back in the competition will depend on Kurachikina’s progress. If the Belarusian makes the final, Anshu will get a repechage round.

(with PTI inputs)

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