New Delhi: After being forced to settle for a bronze at the World Wrestling Championship, Bajrang Punia on Tuesday said that he cannot change the referee's decision.
"I am happy for the bronze medal, but at the same time, I am sad also. People were expecting a gold medal from me but I cannot change the decision of the referee, I can only focus on my training," Punia told ANI.
The world number one wrestler had entered the semi-finals of the tournament in the 65-kg category and by doing so he secured a spot in the Tokyo Olympics.
In the semi-final clash, Punia and Daulet Niyazbekov were locked at 9-9 at the end of the bout and Niyazbekov was declared a winner by the umpires.
Following the defeat, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) had written to United World Wrestling (UWW) to review the bout.
"Our federation had objected to UWW and this is the 3rd time it has happened with me," Punia said.
"I cannot do anything, the referee should be more cautious. We practice a lot before the game and one wrong decision hampers our chance of a win," he added.
This decision was also criticized by 2012 Olympics bronze medalist wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt.
Dutt took to Twitter and wrote in Hindi: "Anyone can differentiate between right or wrong after watching the semi-final between Bajrang and Niyazbekov. Then why could not the umpire see? Such carelessness in a big tournament...Everyone saw that Kazakhstan was playing in a very wrong way."