Bajrang Punia, one of Indian wrestling’s brightest hopes at the Tokyo Olympics will begin his campaign on Friday in men’s freestyle 65kg category along with Seema Bisla who will be competing in the women’s 50kg category.
Punia, a silver medallist at the world championships, is seeded second in the 65kg category and will be up against Emazar Akmataliev of Krygyzstan in the opening round. He is on course to meet third-seed Daulet Niyazbekov of Kazakhstan in the semi-finals if he gets that far.
Punia suffered a knee injury at the Ali Aliyev Wrestling competition earlier this month and it will be interesting to see if he’s fully recovered from it.
Bisla, who is not seeded in the women’s freestyle 50kg category, will open her campaign against Tunisia’s Sarra Hamdi. If she wins that bout she will run into top seed Mariya Stadnik of Azerbaijan in the quarter-finals.
India’s gold medal hopes now rest on Bajrang Punia. Bajrang has got a decent draw and reaching the semifinals should not be a problem for him. Seema Bisla is now the only Indian woman wrestler left in the fray. She will begin her campaign in the 50kg category, where she will face Tunisia’s Sarra Hamdi, the African championship bronze medallist. If she crosses the first hurdle, she will up against world champion Mariya Stadnik of Azerbaijan.— Update via PTI
Here are the full draws for Bajrang Punia and Seema Bisla: