'It was so near and yet so far. Having reached the final, I expected to win gold but I will have to be satisfied with a silver medal. I am happy to have bettered my bronze medal effort, achieved five years ago at the same venue,' Bajrang Punia said
Budapest: India’s Bajrang Punia missed out on gold as he lost the final of the 2018 World Wrestling Championships here on Monday.
The 24-year-old Punia had to settle for silver after he was stunned by Japan's Takuto Otoguro in the final of the 65kg freestyle in Hungary.
The Indian was beaten 9-16 by Otoguro. The Japanese, at 19, is the youngest from his country to win gold at the World Championships. He surpassed the legendary Yuji Takada, who had claimed gold at the age of 20 in 1974. He had also won gold at the Montreal Olympics 1976.
For Punia, it was an improved performance from the 2013 edition where he had claimed bronze. The Asian Games and Commonwealth Games champion also became the first Indian wrestler to win two World Championships medals.
I want to dedicate this silver medal at World Wrestling Championships to the people died in the tragic Amritsar train accident. My deep condolences to their families. pic.twitter.com/oSsg3ABA2c— Bajrang Punia (@BajrangPunia) October 22, 2018
"It was so near and yet so far. Having reached the final, I expected to win gold but I will have to be satisfied with a silver medal. I am happy to have bettered my bronze medal effort, achieved five years ago at the same venue," Punia said.
Coach Jagmander Singh was disappointed and said, "We all wanted him to win gold, but a silver medal is no mean achievement. Bajrang has been consistent throughout the season and has wrapped up this season with two major titles and a silver medal in the world championships here. And this is what every wrestler dream about."
The only gold medallist from India at the World Championships is Sushil Kumar, who achieved the feat in 2010 in Moscow.
Last Updated 6:12 PM IST