Deepak Punia's Paris Olympic Qualification Hangs by Thread After Early Defeat

08:02 PM May 11, 2024 | PTI |

Deepak Punia’s Olympic qualification hopes suffered a heavy jolt following his crushing first-round defeat but young Sujeet Kalkal and Jaideep Ahlawat moved into the quarterfinals at the World Olympic Qualifiers here Saturday.


Punia, who had missed a bronze medal at the Tokyo Games by a whisker, bumped into a very powerful Zushen Lin from China in his first bout and ended up losing 4-6 despite taking the lead.

Now Punia’s fate rests in the hands of the Chinese, who must reach the final to open the repechage route for the Indian.

Sujeet Kalkal expectedly put up a fighting show, winning 3-2 against Uzbekistan’s Umidjon Jalolov and followed that up with a technical superiority victory against Korea’s Junsik Yun.

Tougher test awaits Sujeet in his category.


In the 74kg weight class, Jaideep Ahlawat pulled off a stunning four-pointer double-leg attack after trailing 1-3 to win 5-3 against Moldova’s Vasile Diacon to move into the pre-quarterfinals.

He too won his next bout by technical superiority against Austria’s Simon Marchl.

Punia, the most experienced wrestler in the Indian squad, was quick with his attack in the first period, which he ended with a 3-0 cushion.

However the Chinese turned the tables on the Indian, beginning with a double-leg attack which he converted into a takedown move for two points. He rolled Punia to make it 4-3.

Running out of time, Punia was quick with his moves and looked for a two-pointer near the edge of the circle but the referee awarded a push-out point.

The Chinese was still ahead on criteria. He ended all hopes with a another takedown.

Earlier during the day, Deepak (97kg) and seasoned Sumit Malik (125kg) lost their first-round bouts.


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