Wrestler Deepak Punia on Thursday came agonisingly close to winning a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. On his Olympic debut, he conceded a take-down in last 10 seconds of the 86kg play-off against San Marino's Myles Nazem Amine to miss out on achieving the feat at the Makuhari Messe Hall A Mat B. The 22-year-old suffered a 2-4 defeat on the basis of points in the bronze medal match.
Meanwhile, his father Subhash Punia said there is no need to worry as Deepak will get many more chances in the future. "I only want to say that there is no need to worry. He (Deepak Punia) is playing at a very young age and many more chances will come in future," news agency ANI quoted the wrestler's father as saying.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also praised Deepak Punia. He tweeted: "Deepak Punia lost the Bronze narrowly but he has won our hearts. He is a powerhouse of grit and talent. My best wishes to Deepak for his future endeavours. #Tokyo2020."
Deepak's defence was superb throughout the bout but the San Marino wrestler grabbed the decisive two-pointer after getting hold of the Indian's right leg and converted it into a take-down in dying moments of the bout.
The 22-year-old Indian, son of a milk peddler in a Haryana village, was leading 2-1 before that take-down but it was not meant to be his day.
Deepak made good use of a favourable draw to reach the semifinals but lost to the formidable American David Morris Taylor in the semifinals.
He earlier got past Nigeria's Ekerekeme Agiomor, the African championship bronze medallist by technical superiority and then prevailed 6-3 over China's Zushen Lin in the quarterfinal.
(With PTI inputs)