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World Wrestling Championships: Injured Deepak Punia settles for silver; Rahul Aware wins bronze

Sep 23, 2019

While an injured Deepak Punia (86kg) had to settle for silver medal, Rahul Aware clinched a bronze in 61kg to help India finish with their best ever World Wrestling Championships campaign.

The Indian grapplers return home with with five medals including Punia's silver and four bronze from the Worlds that ended in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, on Sunday.

A day after becoming the youngest Indian wrestler to enter the final of this prestigious tournament, an ankle injury put paid to the 19-year-old Punia's hopes of fighting for the gold.

The youngster, who is also the reigning world junior champion, had injured his ankle during his first bout on Saturday. It got aggravated during the course of the day. That necessitated his withdrawal from the final where the gold went to Olympic and world champion Hassan Aliazam Yazdani Charati of Iran.

"I am a bit disappointed that I couldn't fight for the gold but I am happy with my overall performance here. I will work hard and the aim is to win a medal in the Olympics," said Punia.

The biggest achievement of Aware's career came after he beat Tyler Lee Graff of USA 11-4 in the 61kg non-Olympic category bronze medal bout.

Even though the Commonwealth Games gold medallist was trailing by 2 points initially, he made a quick turnaround and stormed back to lead 4-2. In the second period, Aware's aggression helped him score points easily for a 10-2 lead before completing the victory.

Punia and Aware were the fourth and fifth wrestlers to add medals to India's tally this time which helped the contingent better its previous record haul of three medals in 2013. Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia and Ravi Kumar Dahiya are the others who won a bronze in this edition.

The last three along with Deepak also bagged Olympic quotas for the country from the World Championships which was the first qualifier for the 2020 Games. With the kind of confident performances Indian grapplers have put up, a lot can be expected of them at Tokyo next year.

5 No. of medals India have won at the World Wrestling Championships in Nur-Sultan – Men: Deepak Punia (86kg, silver), Rahul Aware (61kg, bronze), Ravi Kumar Dahiya (57kg, bronze), Bajrang Punia (65kg, bronze); Women: Vinesh Phogat (53kg, bronze)

4 No. of Olympic quota places India have won at the World Wrestling championships – Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Ravi Kumar Dahiya, Deepak Punia

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