Ravi Dahiya
Ravi Dahiya

New Delhi: Ravi Dahiya impressed with a gold-winning effort at the Asian Wrestling Championship but India's biggest Olympic medal hope Bajrang Punia looked good until he ran into Japanese Takuto Otoguro in his final here on Saturday.

In a strong show by the home wrestlers, four of them reached the finals but only Ravi stood on top of the podium, with a scintillating show in the 57kg.

Ravi had shown at the 2019 World Championship in Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan, that he is one for the future, and he proved it again at the KD Jadhav Indoor Stadium.

His agility, tactic and a strong will, all came together and resulted in a tremendous performance.

Apart from Bajrang (65kg), Gourav Baliyan (79kg) and Satyawart Kadiyan (97kg) also had to be content with silver medals.

World number two Bajrang entered the event as defending champion and conceded only two points on his way to the final but could not avenge his defeat to Otoguro in the 2018 World Championship title clash.

At that time his leg defence was a huge issue but on Saturday he lost in a different manner. In the fast-paced bout, Bajrang's leg defence was not a problem but he lost points on smart counter-attacks by Otoguro.

Much to the shock of home fans, Bajrang suffered a comprehensive 1-10 defeat against the world number nine.

Bajrang could score just one point on push-out even as Otoguro kept strengthening his lead with tremendous tactical acumen and power.

An upset Bajrang said he could not fight the way he wanted.

"It was important to fight with all these wrestlers because I will wrestle with them at the Olympics. I have taken my lessons from this.”

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