Deepak Punia, Gourav Baliyan fall short in medal bouts at Individual World Cup

The Indian wrestlers lost their respective bronze medal bouts in contrasting manner. India, as a result, wrapped up the Individual World Cup with just one medal.

By Naveen Peter ·

Indian wrestlers Deepak Punia and Gourav Baliyan fell short of a medal at the Individual World Cup following their losses in the bronze medal bouts on Friday.

Competing in the 86kg freestyle category, Deepak Punia lost 4-1 to Piotr Ianulov of Moldova while Gourav Baliyan was outsmarted 14-1 in the 79kg freestyle category by Belarus’ Mahamedkhabib Kadzimahamedau.

In the 86kg weight division, Deepak Punia’s rustiness was evident as Piotr Ianulov dug deep into his experience to emerge victorious in what was a cagey battle. 

Starting on a cautious note, the two wrestlers were content with measuring each other’s moves in the opening minutes, before a call of passivity forced the Moldovan into action. 

Put on the clock, the 34-year-old Piotr Ianulov managed a leg hold on the Indian wrestler but failed to convert the move into a takedown and had to settle for a point by pushing him out of bounds.

While Piotr Ianulov stayed in the game with his compact defence, Deepak Punia was largely away from his opponent which made it difficult for him to capitalise on any of the half-chances that came his way. 

In the second round, it was the Indian grappler’s time to deal with the pressure of the passivity clock. Though Deepak Punia couldn’t muster much and handed his opponent another point, he pulled one back for Piotr Ianulov’s passive approach to the bout. 

With the clock ticking and a point’s deficit to cover, an eager Deepak Punia went for another double-leg attack in the final seconds. But the 27-year-old failed to make the most of it as the Moldovan reversed the move and inflicted the only takedown of the match to clinch the medal. 

Earlier, all it took was 25 seconds for Mahamedkhabib Kadzimahamedau to outmuscle a young Gourav Baliyan in the 79kg category. 

Competing in only his second senior international meet, the 20-year-old Indian wrestler played into his opponent’s hand in what was a loss by technical superiority. 

Kadzimahamedau kick-started the proceedings with a calculated attack from the back for an easy takedown and managed a few rollovers to ease ahead into a 6-0 lead. 

Later, Gourav Baliyan tried to stay in the bout but the Belarusian ensured that the youngster was hardly provided room to attack and wrapped up the match with a fine flip over his shoulders. 

Their loss meant India finished the Individual World Cup with a solitary medal,  a silver in the 57kg women’s wrestling courtesy of Anshu Malik.