India will return from the inaugural U-23 Senior World Wrestling Championship in Bydgoszcz, Poland, with three silver medals after both Bajrang Punia and Vinod Kumar failed to breach their opponent’s defence in their respective finals on Sunday.
Punia, considered to be India’s best gold medal hope, went down 17-6 against Nachyn Sergeevitch Kuular of Russia in the 65 kg freestyle final while Kumar lost to USA’s Richard Anthony Lewis 3-1 in the 70kg freestyle summit clash.
Ritu Phogat had won India’s first silver in the competition in the 48kg category.
India’s hopes of improving on that performance had increased after both Punia and Kumar won their semi-final bouts with relative easy.
But that was not to be the case.
Punia stared at a 8-0 deficit within the first two minutes as his Russian opponent proved too quick for him. He did respond well to close the gap to 8-6 by the end of the first three minute round. But Kuular simply stepped up the offensive after the break and took 11 points in a row for the referee to stop the bout and declare him winner on technical superiority.
Later, in the 70kg final, Kumar couldn’t find a way to breach Lewis defence. The Indian nosed ahead in the first round as the American was penalised for passivity. He was once again given a 30 seconds warning in the second round but managed to go around Kumar to gain two points and then added another by pushing the Indian out of the mat to complete the points tally.