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Aman moves to semis, Deepak Punia's Paris Olympic qualification hangs by thread

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Istanbul, May 11 (PTI) Deepak Punia's Olympic qualification hopes suffered a heavy jolt following his crushing first-round defeat at the World Qualifiers but young Aman Sehrawat moved to the 57kg semifinals to stand one win away from locking a Paris Games quota, here Saturday.

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Sujeet Kalkal (65kg) and Jaideep Ahlawat (74kg) moved to the quarterfinals in their respective categories.

No Indian male wrestler has yet qualified for the Games and this is the last chance to secure berths.

Aman, the U23 world champion and also the senior Asian Championship title winner, was expected to put up a strong show and the 20-year-old did not disappoint.

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He logged points comfortably in both his bouts, winning 10-4 against Georgi Valentinov Vangelov before overpowering Ukraine's Andrii Yatsenko.

Yatsenko was quick but Aman proved too strong for him. Locked several times in arm-locks, Aman found a way to attack his rival's right leg and converted them into take down moves. He won by technical superiority, without conceding a single point.

Punia (86kg), who had missed a bronze medal at the Tokyo Games by a whisker, bumped into a very powerful Zushen Lin from China in his first bout and ended up losing 4-6 despite taking the lead.

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Now Punia's fate rests in the hands of the Chinese, who must reach the final to open the repechage route for the Indian.

Sujeet expectedly put up a fighting show, winning 3-2 against Uzbekistan's Umidjon Jalolov and followed that up with a technical superiority victory against Korea's Junsik Yun.

Tougher test awaits Sujeet in his category.

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In the 74kg weight class, Ahlawat pulled off a stunning four-pointer double-leg attack after trailing 1-3 to win 5-3 against Moldova's Vasile Diacon to move into the pre-quarterfinals.

He also won his next bout by technical superiority against Austria's Simon Marchl.

Punia, the most experienced wrestler in the Indian squad, was quick with his attack in the first period, which he ended with a 3-0 cushion.

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However the Chinese turned the tables on the Indian, beginning with a double-leg attack which he converted into a takedown move for two points. He rolled Punia to make it 4-3.

Running out of time, Punia was quick with his moves and looked for a two-pointer near the edge of the circle but the referee awarded a push-out point.

The Chinese was still ahead on criteria. He ended Punia hopes with another takedown.

Earlier during the day, Deepak (97kg) and seasoned Sumit Malik (125kg) lost their first-round bouts. PTI AT AM AT APA APA

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