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Ravi Dahiya, Deepak Punia storm into Olympic semifinals, get closer to medal rounds


Chiba (Japan), Aug 4: Ravi Dahiya was his usual dominant self while Deepak Punia pulled off a decisive two-pointer towards the end of his quarterfinal as the two Indian wrestlers stormed into the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics, here on Wednesday.

Such was the dominance of 23-year Dahiya that he won both his bouts on technical superiority to set up a 57kg semifinal clash with Kazakhstan's Nurislam Sanayev.

Deepak made the most of an easy draw by getting past Nigeria's Ekerekeme Agiomor, the African championship bronze medallist by technical superiority and then prevailed 6-3 against China's Zushen Lin in the quarterfinal.

The fourth-seeded Dahiya outclassed Colombia's Tigreros Urbano (13-2) in his opener and then outwitted Bulgaria's Georgi Valentinov Vangelov (14-4).

Against Urbano, Dahiya remained dominant, apart from conceding a take-down in the first period.

The reigning Asian champion nailed the win with one minute and 10 seconds still remaining in the bout, which was stopped after he raced to a winning lead.

The Indian effected five take-down moves in the second period, showing his technical prowess.

Against Vangelov, Dahiya relied on his double leg attacks, building his lead gradually.

In the 86kg, the Nigerian had the power but Deepak was technically sound and won comfortably. Against Lin, though, the 22-year-old Indian struggled.

He opened up a 3-1 lead but Lin effected a takedown to make it 3-3 and head on criteria. The referee awarded two points to Deepak for a throw but the Chinese won the challenge.

With just 10 seconds to go and Chinese ahead on criteria, Deepak managed to get under Lin and with his strong grip pulled both of Lin's legs in the air and threw him for a two-pointer to clinch the contest.

He will now be up against 2018 world champion American David Morris Taylor.

The only disappointing result for India on the mat was the 2-8 defeat of Anshu Malik against European champion Irina Kurachikina.

Asian champion Anshu made a strong comeback after conceding a 0-4 lead against the Belarusian with two push out points.

She also managed to get hold of Kurachikina's right leg but could not complete the move.

On the counter attack, Anshu conceded another two-pointer but kept fighting. The European relied on her experience to prevail.

Anshu's chances to come back in the competition will depend on Kurachikina's progress. If the Belarusian makes the final, Anshu will get a repechage round.

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