The 24-year-old Bajrang Punia has become the new World No 1 wrestler in the freestyle 65kg category. According to the latest released United World Wrestling rankings, Punia with 96 points topped the charts in the 65 kg category with a 30-point lead over second-placed Alejandro Enrique Valdes Tobier of Cuba. The huge 30- point difference is a sure testament of far the wrestler has come and how he is way ahead of the rest of the pack in the 65 kg category.
Apart from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the wrestler will eye the Asian Wrestling Championships that is set to take place in April next year.
Earlier, in Gold Coast, Australia, he won the gold medal in the men’s freestyle 65 kg category. He overcame Kane Charig of Wales by Technical Superiority to clinch the gold and then he followed it up with an Asian Games gold, where he beat Japanese Wrestler Takatani Daichi 11-8; the score was locked at 6-6 after the first round.
Former wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, an Olympic medalist himself is the mentor of Punia.
“It’s important that Bajrang is prepared and supported for an Olympic medal. He is good but can do much better. I can’t compete in 2020, so it is better, we help Bajrang. He will be a strong medal contender for gold in Tokyo,” Yogeshwar told PTI.
“I had a good career. I played four Olympics. In our second line of wrestlers, Bajrang is doing well and can be better. So it’s important to give him that chance and support,” added Yogeshwar.
The stout-looking wrestler was born in Khudan village of Jhajjar district in the state of Haryana. He began wrestling at a tender age of seven and was encouraged to pursue the sport by his father. In 2015, his family moved to Sonepat so that he can attend a regional centre of Sports Authority of India. Currently, he works in Indian Railways on the post of TTE (Travelling Ticket Examiner). His family has wished for position Deputy superintendent of a police post in Haryana Police.