Bajrang Punia was India’s biggest hope in men’s wrestling and the 24-year old delivered on his promise on the opening day of the Asian Games. Punia bagged the gold medal in the 65 kg freestyle wrestling event by beating Japan’s Daichi Takatani 11-8 in the final bout. This was also India’s first gold medal of the 2018 Asian Games.
At first, Punia outclassed Uzbekistan’s Sirojiddin Khasanov 13-3 and then followed it up with another heroic performance in the quarter-final against Tajikistan’s Abdulqosim Fayziev (12-2). He was at his very best in the semi-final as he routed Mongolia’s Batmagnai Batchuluun 10-0 to win his third straight bout through technical superiority.
Punia got the better of Japan’s Takatani in a closely fought final bout. The Jhajjar born wrestler took a 6-0 lead before the Japanese wrestler fought back to tie the bout at 6-6. However, Punia’s resilience eventually paid off as he put in a great defensive show towards the end of the fight to claim a stunning victory.
Bajrang Punia’s win had social media buzzing with many cricketers tweeting to congratulate the wrestler.
Here are some of the tweets:
Heartiest congratulations @BajrangPunia for winning a gold in #AsianGames2018.— Suresh Raina (@ImRaina) August 20, 2018
Best reward for your persistence & hard work! ???????????????????????? #IndiaIsProud #BajrangPunia pic.twitter.com/dgJhgF2iHH