Deepak Punia, Gourav Baliyan to fight for bronze at Individual World Cup

Deepak Punia is competing in the 86kg category while Gourav Baliyan is in the 79kg division. Both Indian wrestlers will be up for a bronze at the Individual World Cup.

By Naveen Peter ·

Indian wrestlers Deepak Punia and Gourav Baliyan will be back on Friday to fight it out for a bronze medal in their respective weight divisions at the Individual World Cup in Belgrade, Serbia.

On Thursday, the Indian youngsters put up an inspired show but fell short of making the final following contrasting losses in their respective semi-final fights. 

While Deepak Punia bowed out to Russia’s Dauren Kurugliev 4-0 in the 86kg category, Gourav Baliyan faced a 10-0 loss on technical superiority in his last-four bout against another Russian, Akhmed Usmanov, in the 79kg weight division.

The silver medallist at the 2019 World Championships, Deepak Punia, started his semis on a positive note as he took the attack to his opponent. But he was unable to break Dauren Kurugliev’s defence as the former European champion stayed on his feet and used the mat well to keep the Indian guessing.

And all it took was a lapse in concentration from Deepak Punia as the Russian pulled off a double leg attack to floor him. 

A takedown followed by a rollover saw Dauren Kurugliev win four points, and it stayed so till the final minute with neither wrestlers managing enough to muster more points.

Meanwhile, in the 79kg category semi-finals, Gourav Baliyan was the second-best wrestler on the mat by a distance as Akhmed Usmanov raced to a comfortable win on technical superiority in just over four minutes. 

Put on the clock for his passive approach, the Indian wrestler was soon drawn into committing errors as his opponent pounced on the openings to inflict takedowns and expose Gourav Baliyan on to the mat to pocket points. 

Even though the 20-year-old Indian did well to manage a few attacks, he could hardly garner any points as Akhmed Usmanov soon reversed the moves to get Gourav Baliyan on the mat.

Rahul Aware loses on criteria 

Earlier in the day, bronze medallist from the 2019 World Wrestling Championships, Rahul Aware bowed out of the 61kg freestyle competition following a close loss in the quarter-final.

Rahul Aware bowed out of the Individual World Cup following a loss on criteria. Photo: UWW

Up against Argentina’s Agustin Destribats, the Indian wrestler was the superior of the two. But it didn’t matter much as the Argentine stayed in the game and drew level on points towards the end to eke out a win on criteria to move into the semi-finals. 

The bout started on a cagey note but soon sprung into life after Agustin Destribats -- a two-time bronze medallist at the Pan-American Championships -- was put on the passivity clock midway through the opening round.

Forced into action, while the Argentine managed to hold Rahul Aware, the Indian used his experience to reverse the move and expose his opponent on to the mat for the opening points.

The two wrestlers exchanged points from thereon with the 23-year-old Agustin Destribats winning the final points that handed him the win on criteria. 

Meanwhile, Indian heavyweight wrestler Satywart Kadian failed to make it beyond the opening round in his 97kg division at the Individual World Cup.