Heartbreak for Deepak Punia, Vinesh Phogat in Tokyo Olympics wrestling
Vinesh Phogat was left to endure a second consecutive heart-breaking quarter-final exit from the Games after a massive upset by Belarus's Vanesa Kaladzinskaya.
TOKYO: Vinesh Phogat was left to endure a second consecutive heart-breaking quarter-final exit from the Games after a massive upset by Belarus's Vanesa Kaladzinskaya.
Vinesh had no answer to the supreme defence of Vanesa, who extracted revenge on the Indian on the biggest stage after suffering a similar embarrassing defeat 'by fall' earlier this year in Ukraine.
Later, Vanesa lost her semi-final to China's Qinyu Pang on criteria after the scores were tied 2-2, a result that brought curtains on Vinesh's campaign at the Tokyo Games.
The top-seeded Vinesh, who was a hot favourite for a medal, needed Vanesa to beat the Chinese to re-join the 53kg competition through the repechage round and push for a bronze.
At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Vinesh suffered a quarter-final defeat against China's Sun Yanan after enduring a leg injury and was stretchered out of the mat.
In the men's freestyle 86kg category, Deepak Punia came agonisingly close to winning a bronze medal on his Olympic debut but conceded a take-down in the last 10 seconds of the play-off against San Marino's Myles Nazem Amine and missed out on it.
Deepak's defence was superb throughout the bout but the San Marino wrestler grabbed the decisive two-pointer after getting hold of the Indian's right leg and converted it into a take-down in dying moments of the bout.
The 22-year-old Indian, son of a milk peddler in a Haryana village, was leading 2-1 before that take-down but it was not meant to be his day.
Deepak made good use of a favourable draw to reach the semi-finals but lost to the formidable American David Morris Taylor.
He earlier got past Nigeria's Ekerekeme Agiomor, the African championship bronze medallist by technical superiority and then prevailed 6-3 over China's Zushen Lin in the quarter-final.
Young Anshu Malik also bowed out of the 57kg competition after losing her repechage round 1-5 to Russia's Valeria Koblova, the Rio Olympics silver medallist. Agencies