Bajrang Punia has a tricky draw leading into the semi-finals as he starts his Olympic campaign on Friday. He has been drawn in the lower bracket as the second seed in the 65 kg men’s freestyle weight category.
Bajrang Punia is one of the heavy favorites to finish on the podium as he avoids his main challengers Gadhzimurad Rashidov (top seed) of the Russian Olympic Committee, Takuto Otoguro (JPN) and Hungary’s Ismael Muskukajev.
In this article, we will analyze his strengths, weaknesses and possible pathways to the final.
Bajrang Punia’s SWOT Analysis
Bajrang Punia is one of the best when it comes to exerting pressure on his opponents. His “forward-moving” wrestling style and superior stamina have proved a handful for most wrestlers.
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However, his strength is also his weakness. He needs an upright stance to be aggressive, which makes him vulnerable to leg attacks. Nevertheless, if he has a clever strategy and works on his counters, the bouts can very well go his way.
Bajrang Punia’s possible pathway
Bajrang Punia will meet Ermazar Akmataliev of Kazakhstan. It won’t be an easy run to the quarterfinal for the Indian wrestler. The Kazakh is the one who pinned Ilyas Bekbulatov, one of the favorites to qualify for the Olympics, to pull off a surprise.
If Bajrang wins, he is likely to meet Morteza Hassanali Ghiasi Cheka. The Iranian grappler is a 2021 Asian Championship bronze medalist.
For the semi-final, anyone from Cuba’s Alejandro Valdes, Daulet Niyazbekov and Ali Aliyev could be his opponent.
Bajrang Punia’s match schedule, live streaming details
The pre-quarterfinal to semi-final rounds will be held on Friday. The medal and repechage bouts will be held on Saturday.
Bajrang Punia’s bout is the last in the pre-quarterfinal round on Mat A. The action will begin at 8:00 a.m. The bout will be broadcast live on Sony Sports Network and SonyLIV.