Bajrang Punia was pushed to the edge by Ernazar Akmataliev of Kyrgyzstan, but he warded off his opponent’s advances to win by virtue of biggest points won in the bout.
However, in the quarterfinal, Bajrang made a remarkable comeback against the much-tougher Iran’s Murteza Ghiasi, pinning his opponent down before securing the victory by fall.
The Indian wrestler made a good start to his Tokyo Olympics campaign to secure a place in the semifinals, where he will face Azerbaijan’s three-time world champion Haji Aliyev.
Punia is the only Indian still in contention for a medal after Seema Bisla lost in her first round in women’s 50kg category. She was eventually eliminated from the Games after her victor lost in the quarterfinal.