India’s ace grappler – Bajrang Punia has continued his golden run of form as he clinched back-to-back gold medals to reassert his supremacy on the mat. After a memorable triumph at the Asian Championships in China last month, Bajrang clinched the gold at the Ali Aliev invitational tournament in Dagestan, Russia on Thursday.
In the 65 kg final at Ali Aliev, the world number one – Punia defeated local favourite Viktor Rassadin 13-8 after being down 0-5 at one stage. The two wrestled last in 2017 at the Dan Kolov where Punia won and finished as runner-up to Boris Novachkov of Bulgaria.
At the end of the first period, Bajrang trailed 3-7 after giving up three takedowns for six points and one point for failed challenge. Punia got his points via one takedown and a point after Rassadin was warned for hitting his face with fingers.
Maintaining his style of play, the 25-year-old Punia upped the ante in the second period. Rassadin was one again warned for hitting on the left eye of Punia who later completed two more takedowns for an 8-7 lead.
With 45 seconds left, Punia exposed Rassadin for four points in the danger zone. A failed challenge from the Russian extended Punia’s lead to 13-7. Rassadin was able to get a point for a pushout to make it 8-13 but it was too little too late.
Punia will bring home a whopping amount of Rs. 500000 after winning the gold medal.
Next up, Bajrang will travel to the United States to participate in the much-hyped ‘Beat the Streets’ competition at the Madison Square Garden, New York on May 6.