Olympics-Wrestling-Japan's Susaki cruises into semis, India's Punia advances

Tokyo 2020

By Ece Toksabay

CHIBA, Japan (Reuters) - Japan's Yui Susaki stormed into the women's Olympic freestyle flyweight semi-finals with two commanding victories by technical superiority without conceding a point on Friday, wrapping up both bouts in the first period.

Susaki, Japan's flag bearer at the opening ceremony, first beat Mongolia's Namuuntsetseg Tsogt-Ochir before dominating Lucia Guzman of Ecuador, starting the bout with a four-point throw to leave Guzman searching for answers.

Susaki is looking to become Japan's third wrestler to win gold in Tokyo after the Kawai sisters https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/wrestling-magic-man-taylor-wins-final-death-japans-kawai-claims-gold-2021-08-05 - Risako and Yukako - won the lightweight and middleweight categories.

The 22-year-old will be up against Azerbaijan's three-times Olympic medallist Mariya Stadnik. Susaki had previously beaten her in the final of 2018 world championship.

India's medal hope Bajrang Punia advanced to the men's freestyle lightweight semi-finals after edging Kyrgyzstan's Ernazar Akmataliev and pinning Iran's Morteza Ghiasi - the only victory by fall on the day.

A single takedown in a 3-3 scoreline made the difference against Akmataliev while the 27-year-old Asian champion Punia found himself trailing against Ghiasi before he pinned the Iranian, who desperately tried to escape the hold but failed.

Punia will face Azerbaijan's three-times world champion Haji Aliyev, who beat Kazakhstan's Daulet Niyazbekov 9-1 in a controlled quarter-final bout.

Niyazbekov was earlier involved in one of the highest-scoring bouts at the Games when he snatched an unlikely victory against Cuba's Alejandro Valdes, fighting back from 11-3 down in the second period to win 21-11.

The other semi-final will be a battle of two world champions when Russian Gadzhimurad Rashidov takes on Japan's Takuto Otoguro.

Russian Abdulrashid Sadulaev beat Azerbaijan's Sharif Sharifov in the men's freestyle heavyweight last-16 in what was a battle between two Olympic gold medallists.

Sadulaev, the 2016 middleweight champion, then outclassed Georgian Elizbar Odikadze 10-0 to win by technical superiority to book a semi-final spot against Cuba's Reineris Salas.

(Writing by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Wrestling - Freestyle - Women
Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Wrestling - Freestyle - Women's 50kg - Quarterfinal - Makuhari Messe Hall A, Chiba, Japan - August 6, 2021. Lucia Yamileth Yepez Guzman of Ecuador in action against Yui Susaki of Japan. REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Wrestling - Freestyle - Men
Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Wrestling - Freestyle - Men's 86kg - Bronze medal match - Makuhari Messe Hall A, Chiba, Japan - August 5, 2021. Deepak Punia of India in action against Myles Nazem Amine of San Marino. REUTERS/Leah Millis

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