Deepak outplayed by idol Hasan Yazdani in Asian Games, Indian wrestlers return with six medals

Deepak Punia loses to Iranian legend Hasan Yazdani by technical superiority in the men's 86kg category, settling for a silver.
Deepak Poonia won Silver medal in 86Kg wrestling at the Asian Games 2023
Deepak Poonia won Silver medal in 86Kg wrestling at the Asian Games 2023

Hangzhou | Hasan Yazdani expectedly proved too good for Deepak Punia, who settled for a silver after losing by technical superiority to the Iranian legend in the men's 86kg category as India's wrestling campaign concluded at the Asian Games here on Saturday with six medals but without a gold.

It was the second time that Deepak found himself up against his childhood idol Yazdani, the two-time Olympic medallist and eight-time World Championship medallist.

In the 2019 World Championships in Nur Sultan, Deepak had reached the final on debut but did not wrestle against the Iranian due to a foot injury and conceded the bout, settling for a silver.

The 24-year-old Deepak, known as 'Ketli Pehalwan', was perhaps overwhelmed as he could not find a single scoring move against Yazdani, who had more or less settled the final by taking a commanding 8-0 lead in the first period.

Yazdani finished the bout early in the second period to defend his title.

Meanwhile, Yash Tunir (74kg), Vicky (97kg) and Sumit Malik (125kg) crashed out of the Games without reaching the medal round.

Overall, India won six medals and the embarrassing defeat of Bajrang Punia on Friday was the biggest disappointment.

Sunil Kumar (87kg), Antim Panghal (53kg), Sonam Malik (62kg), Aman Sehrawat (57kg) and Kiran Bishnoi (76kg) were the other medal winners for India.

In the 2018 edition, India had won three medals, including two gold through Bajrang and Vinesh Phogat.

In the men's 86kg category, Deepak was edgy in his close 3-2 win over Bahrain's Magomed Sharipov in his qualification round but kept getting better with his bouts.

He, expectedly, dominated Indonesia's Randa Riandesta, winning by technical superiority, and outgunned Japan's Shirai Shota 7-3 in the quarterfinals.

In the last-four stage, he was up against a tough rival in Uzbekistan's Javrail Shapiev but prevailed 4-3.

Yash lost by technical superiority to Magomet Evloev from Tajikistan after beating Cambodia's Chheang Chhoeun in his pre-quarterfinal.

Vicky made an exit following his defeat to Kazakhstan's Alisher Yergali while Sumit Malik was ousted when he lost by technical superiority to Kyrgyzstan's Aiaal Lazarev.

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