New Delhi: India began their campaign in the Junior World Wrestling championships on a positive note with Veer Dev Gulia bagging a bronze medal while Deepak Punia entering the bronze medal play-off round in Tampere, Finland.
In the men’s 74kg freestyle category, Gulia finished third after getting the better of Yamasaki Yajuro of Japan 8-5 in the bronze medal play-off bout on the opening day of the competition last night.
Gulia had made it to the bronze medal play-offs despite losing in the quarterfinals as his last-eight stage opponent, Isa Shapiev of Uzbekistan, reached the gold medal round of 74kg.
Gulia had started well by beating Johann Christoph Steinforth of Germany 6-2 in the 1/8 stage, but lost in the quarterfinals 0-11 to the Uzbek wrestler.
But, with Shapiev entering the gold medal round, Gulia got another chance and he took full advantage of it, defeating Ty Stuart Bridgwater of Canada 5-0 in his repechage bout.
However, another Indian — Ravinder — who also made it to the bronze medal round in men’s 60kg freestyle, lost out on a third-place finish after going down to Japan’s Hiromu Sakaki 6-9.
Today, Punia reached the bronze-medal round after losing his semifinal bout to Zahid Valencia of USA 0-11 in men’s 84kg freestyle category.
Punia first defeated Javrail Shapiev of Uzbekistan 18-12 in 1/8 stage, and followed it by beating Bendeguz Toth of Hungary 4-0 in his quarterfinal bout.
He, however, went down in the last four stage and will now be fighting for a bronze.
Punia will take on Gadzhimurad Magomedsaidov of Azerbaijan for the third-fourth place match later tonight.
Other Indians in the fray today, Bharat Patil (55kg), Karan (66kg) and Mohit (120kg) bowed out of the tournament early.