This article needs to be updated.(August 2021)
Bajrang Punia (born 26 February 1994) is an Indian freestyle wrestler, who competes in the 65-kg weight category. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Punia won a bronze medal by defeating Kazakhstan's Daulet Niyazbekov with a wide 8-0 margin. Punia is the only Indian wrestler to win 4 medals at the World Wrestling Championships.
Early life and background
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Punia was born in the Khudan village of Jhajjar district in the state of Haryana, India. He began wrestling at the age of seven and was encouraged to pursue the sport by his father. Punia grew up in rural area. His family did not have money for traditional sports. Instead, he had to partake in free sports like Wrestling and Kabaddi. Punia's father was a wrestler as well and at a young age, his family Enrolled him in a local mud wrestling school. Punia started to skip school to go to wrestling practice.He went to Chattarsal Stadium in 2008 where he was trained by Ramphal Mann. In 2015, his family moved to Sonepat so that he can attend to a regional center of Sports Authority of India.
In Budapest, Hungary, Bajrang won the bronze medal in the men's freestyle 60 kg category by qualifying for the bronze medal bout through the repechage round. There, he met Enkhsaikhany Nyam-Ochir of Mongolia and beat him 9-2.
In the Round of 32, he faced Vladimir Dubov of Bulgaria who beat him 7-0. With the Bulgarian grappler qualifying for the final bout, Bajrang then faced Shogo Maeda of Japan and earned a walkover. His next opponent was Ivan Guidea of Romania, and with a 10-3 win over the Romanian, Bajrang earned a spot in the bronze medal bout.
In the Round of 16, Bajrang faced Sasha Madyarchyk of England and beat him 4-0. He faced Marno Plaatjies of South Africa in the quarter-finals and won 4-1. The Nigerian wrestler, Amas Daniel, was his opponent in the semi-finals and overcame him in a 3-1 score line.
In Incheon, South Korea, he won the silver medal in the Men's freestyle 61 kg category, after losing 1-3 to Masoud Esmaeilpoorjouybari of Iran.
In the Round of 16, he faced Tuvshintulga Tumenbileg of Mongolia and beat him 3-1. His quarter-finals opponent was Farkhodi Usmonzoda of Tajikistan whom he beat 4-1 to qualify for the semi-finals. He was assured of a medal when he beat Noriyuki Takatsuka of Japan 4-1 in the semi-finals.
In the Round of 16, Bajrang met Lee Seung-Chul of South Korea whom he beat 3-1. In the quarter-finals, he faced Noriyuki Takatsuka of Japan whom he beat 3-1 to qualify for the semi-finals. There he met Nazmandakh Lhamgarmaa of Mongolia whom he beat 3-1 to assure himself of a medal.
In the Round of 32, he met Batboldyn Nomin of Mongolia who beat him 10-0. With the Mongolian qualifying for the final bout in the 61 kg category, Bajrang got a chance to contest in the Repêchage round. His first opponent in the repêchage round was Reece Humphrey of the USA whom he beat 6-0 easily. The second repêchage opponent was Beka Lomtadze from Georgia who put up a fight but was ultimately overcome 13-6 by the Indian. Unfortunately, he fell at the last hurdle, drawing the bronze medal bout 6-6 but his opponent Vasyl Shuptar of Ukraine, scoring the last point.
Asian Wrestling Championship 2017
Pro Wrestling League
Bajrang was the second acquisition of the JSW owned Bangalore franchise in the auction conducted in New Delhi. The wrestler was picked up for a sum of Rs 29.5 lakh.
The Pro Wrestling League was scheduled to be held from 10 December to 27 December across six cities.
Bajrang won Silver at the 2019 World Wrestling Championships. After that Silver Medal, he claimed World No. 1 in 65 kg category.
Bajrang won Bronze for the second time at a World Championship, thereby qualifying India for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the 65 kg freestyle wrestling event.
2020 Rome Ranking Series
On 18 January, Bajrang defeated Jordan Oliver 4-3 in the final in the 65 kg freestyle category at the Ranking Series.
2020 Tokyo Olympics
In the bronze medal match he defeated the Kazakhstani wrestler Daulet Niyazbekov, winning by a margin of 8-0.
|2022||2022 World Wrestling Championships||Belgrade||65 kg||Sebastian C Rivera (PUR)|
|2019||2019 World Wrestling Championships||Nur-sultan||65 kg||Daulet Niyazbekov (KAZ)|
|2018||2018 World Wrestling Championships||Budapest||65 kg||Takuto Otoguro (JPN)|
|2017||2017 World Wrestling Championships||Paris France||65 kg||13th||Zurabi Iakobishvili (GEO)|
|2016||2016 World Wrestling Championships||Budapest||61 kg||9th||Akhmednabi Gvarzatilov (AZE)|
|2015||2015 World Wrestling Championships||Las Vegas||61 kg||5th||Batboldyn Nomin (MGL)|
|2013||2013 World Wrestling Championships||Hungry||60 kg||Vladimir Dubov (BUL)|
U23 World Championship
|2017||2017 World U23 Wrestling Championships||Bydgoszcz||65 kg||Nachyn Kuular (RUS)|
|2018||2018 Asian Games||Jakarta||65kg||Daichi Takatani (JPN)|
|2014||2014 Asian Games||Incheon||61kg||Masoud Esmaeilpour (IRI)|
|2022||2022 Commonwealth Games||Birmingham||65kg||Lachlan McNeil (CAN)|
|2018||2018 Commonwealth Games||Gold Coast||65kg||Kane Charig (WAL)|
|2014||2014 Commonwealth Games||Glasgow||61kg||David Tremblay (CAN)|
Asian Wrestling Championship
|2021||2021 Asian Wrestling Championships||Almaty||65kg||Takuto Otoguro (JPN)|
|2020||2020 Asian Wrestling Championships||New Delhi||65kg||Takuto Otoguro (JPN)|
|2019||2019 Asian Wrestling Championships||Xi'an||65kg||Sayatbek Okassov (KAZ)|
|2018||2018 Asian Wrestling Championships||Bishkek||65kg||Daichi Takatani (JPN)|
|2017||2017 Asian Wrestling Championships||New Delhi||65kg||Seunghui Lee (KOR)|
|2016||2016 Asian Wrestling Championships||Bangkok||65kg||10th||Kum Su JON (PRK)|
|2014||2014 Asian Wrestling Championships||Astana||61kg||Masoud Esmaeilpour (IRI)|
|2013||2013 Asian Wrestling Championships||New Delhi||60kg||Yang Jae-hoon (KOR)|
|2021||Tokyo Olympics 2020||Tokyo||65 kg||Daulet Niyazbekov (Kazakhstan)|
Record against opponents
- Arjuna Award, 2015
- Padma Shri Award, 2019
- Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, 2019
- FICCI India Sports Award 2020
- For winning the bronze medal at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics
- ₹30 lakh (US$38,000) from the Government of India.
- ₹2.5 crore (US$310,000) from the Government of Haryana.
- ₹25 lakh (US$31,000) from the Board of Control for Cricket in India
- ₹25 lakh (US$31,000) from the Indian Olympic Association
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