Olympic bronze medalist and 2022 Commonwealth Games gold medalist Bajrang Punia has won a bronze medal at the World Wrestling Championships. This was India’s second medal at the World Wrestling Championships. Earlier, female wrestler Vinesh Phogat had won the bronze medal.
Bajrang defeated Puerto Rico’s Sebastian Rivera 11-9 in the bronze medal match in the 65kg category. Earlier, Bajrang was defeated by John Diacomihalis of USA in the quarterfinals. Then Bajrang reached the bronze medal match through repechage and won.
Bajrang Punia made a tremendous comeback:
In the first match of the repechage, Bajrang defeated Veggen Tevanyan of Armenia in a tough fight. Bajrang started his campaign with a head injury in his first match. He didn’t look anything special throughout the tournament but used his experience at crucial moments to beat his opponents and win a medal for India.
The Olympic bronze medalist was trailing 6–0 in the bronze medal playoff match of the World Wrestling Championships. Bajrang then made a comeback and won 11-9.
Bajrang’s record in the World Wrestling Championship:
This is Bajrang Punia’s fourth medal in the World Wrestling Championships. Bajrang won bronze in 2013, silver in 2018 and bronze again in 2019. Bajrang Punia is the only Indian wrestler to win four medals in this global event.
India ended the world wrestling campaign with two bronze medals. Prior to Bajrang, Vinesh Phogat had won a bronze medal in the women’s 53kg category.
The condition of the rest of the Indian wrestlers in the tournament:
Earlier, Nisha Dahiya (68kg), Sagar Jaglan (74kg) and Naveen Malik (70kg) came close to the bronze medals but lost their respective medal bouts.
At the same time, Olympic silver medalist and Commonwealth Games gold medalist Ravi Dahiya suffered a setback at the start of the tournament. He lost in the pre-quarterfinal round. He didn’t even get a chance to play repechage like Vinesh and Bajrang.
India sent a total of thirty wrestlers for the championship in the thirty categories of Gecko-Roman, freestyle and women’s wrestling and won just two medals.