A last-minute attack by his opponent Myles Amine of San Marino left India’s Deepak Punia heartbroken as he lost the close bout, missing out on a bronze medal in the men’s 86 kg freestyle at the Tokyo Olympics wrestling competition on Thursday.
Punia, who had lost to USA’s David Taylor in the semifinals on Wednesday, had a one-point lead going into the last minute of the bout but let it slip as he came under attack and lost the bout 4-2.
Having expended all his energy in keeping Amine at bay, Punia looked exhausted and could not defend well as the San Marino grappler launched a desperate attack in the final seconds.
Punia’s coach raised an objection over the three points awarded against his ward but the table officials, after watching the action on a monitor, ruled in favour of his opponent.
Punia, a world junior champion and a silver medallist in the senior World Championships in 2019, tried his best against Amine as both grapplers tried for a breakthrough in the first part of the bout. He managed a two-point takedown and though Amine reduced the margin by one point soon after, the Indian did not get any further chances. He was cautioned by the referee for not trying enough and though Punia avoided any action by being more proactive in defense, he could not unleash any attacks in the last part of the bout.
His rival however managed to bring him down with a quick ankle lock in the final minutes and claimed three points that ended Punia’s hopes.