A day of mixed emotions for Bajrang Punia's family

A day of mixed emotions for wrestler Bajrang Punia's family

Many neighbours who were also keenly watching the action on TV said they are hopeful that Bajrang would come back with a medal

Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia. Credit: PTI Photo

It was a day of mixed emotions for Bajrang Punia's family here after the wrestler began on a winning note to reach the Olympic Games semifinals but lost the men's freestyle 65kg last-four bout to three-time world champion Haji Aliev.

Bajrang's family, friends and well-wishers, who had turned up in numbers to catch the action on TV, exuded optimism that he would win a bronze medal at the Games.

His father Balwan Singh and his mother had spoken to their son earlier in the day.

Also Read | Tokyo 2020: Wrestler Bajrang Punia loses men's freestyle 65 kg semi-final, to play for bronze medal; Seema makes early exit

Speaking to the media here, Balwan said, "Bajrang told us that he will give his best to bring an Olympic medal."

The family was jubilant when he reached the semifinals and everyone around looked very happy.

However, after Bajrang lost his semifinal bout, the mood changed. But Balwan believed all was not lost and there was still hope for a bronze medal.

"This is a game. One will win and another will lose, this is part of the game. But I am hopeful that he will be back with a medal," Balwan said.

Many neighbours who were also keenly watching the action on TV said they are hopeful that Bajrang would come back with a medal.

Bajrang, who belongs to Khuddan village in Jhajjar district, began the day by edging past Kyrgyzstan's Ernazar Akmataliev and then pinned Iran's Morteza Cheka Ghiasi to reach the semifinals.

However, his perennial leg-defence weakness came to haunt him at the big stage as he lost to Aliev.

Rio Olympics bronze-winner Aliev of Azerbaijan consistently attacked Bajrang's legs and twice got himself into position from where he could roll the Indian comfortably for easy two-point throws.

If Bajrang manages to win bronze, India will match its best result at the Olympics. Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt had won a silver and a bronze at the 2012 London Games.