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Commonwealth Games 2022: Who is Bajrang Punia, India’s biggest medal hope on day 8?

His high-class performances in international events have got him a total of 19 international medals. 

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Picture courtesy: AFP
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New Delhi: Bajrang Punia will be leading the Indian wrestling contingent to glory in the ongoing Commonwealth Games 2022. The nation has high expectations from the wrestler as he is the defending champion in Men’s 65 kg category in the Commonwealth Games. The wrestler coming from Haryana has won medals in almost every big international event including the world championships and Olympics.

He has performed consistently in major tournaments in the last three years. His high-class performances in international events have got him a total of 19 international medals.

Early life

Bajrang was born on February 26, 1994, in the Khudan village of Jhajjar district in Haryana. Born to Balvan Singh Punia and Om Pyari Punia, Bajrang tried his hands at Kabaddi and Wrestling. At the age of seven, he decided to take up wrestling. His father himself was a wrestler and in 2015, his family moved to Sonepat so that he could attend a regional centre of the Sports Authority of India.

Career

Bajrang Punia has been representing the country internationally since 2013, starting with the Asian Wrestling Championships held in New Delhi. There he lost 3-1 to North Korea’s Hwang Ryong-hak to win the bronze medal in the men’s freestyle 60 kg category. In the same year, he won a bronze medal in the World Wrestling Championships and announced himself on the international stage.

Picture courtesy: Reuters

 

His first international gold came in 2016 when he participated in the Commonwealth Wrestling Championships held in Singapore. He is now the defending champion in the ongoing Commonwealth Games as well.

Medals and achievements

One of his biggest achievements came in the Tokyo Olympics where he won a bronze medal after defeating Daulet Niyazbekov by a margin of 8-0. He also has one silver and two world championships bronze medals to his name. In the Commonwealth Games, he won a silver in Glasgow and converted it to gold in the Gold Coast games.

Picture courtesy: PIB

He received the Arjuna Award in 2015 and after that, he also received Padma Shri (2019), Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award (2019) and FICCI India Sports Award (2020). He also works in the Indian Railways in the post of Gazetted officer OSD Sports.

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