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. Also Read - Sports Ministry Sanctions Vinesh Phogat And Her Team's 40-day Training Camp in Hungary
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. Also Read - Deepak Punia, Two Other Wrestlers Test Positive For COVID-19
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. Also Read - Wrestler Sushil Kumar on National Sports Awards, Says 'Maintain Dignity Of These Awards'
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.