Asian Games 2018: Bajrang Punia open India’s Olympic gold account in wrestling


India’s biggest medal hope in men’s wrestling, Bajrang Punia India’s fastest, most powerful and focused grappler, has delivered on his promise.

Punia won the gold award in the 65 kg free-form wrestling occasion by beating Japan’s Daichi Takatani.

On Sunday, wrestler Bajrang Punia secured India’s first gold award at the Asian Games 2018, beating Japan’s Daichi Takatani 11-8 in the Men’s Freestyle 65 kg event in Jakarta.

The 24-year old from Haryana’s Jhajjar got the better of Takatani of Japan in a closely fought final bout.

Bajrang_Punia won the gold award in the 65 kg free-form wrestling

Bajrang hurried away to a 6-0 lead before the Japanese wrestler battled back to tie the session at 6-6. But Punia’s resilience eventually paid off as he put in a great defensive show towards the end of the bout to hold on to a great victory.

Punia, who has trained under 2012 Olympic bronze medallist and 2014 Asian Games gold medallist Yogeshwar Dutt. Dutt had won a gold medal in a similar classification 4 years ago.

Bajrang Punia: “Yogi bhai has played a crucial role in my wrestling career. He wants me to win an Olympic Gold as he failed to do so in Rio Olympics. Today, I am a wrestler because of Yogeshwar bhai. I want to realize his dream of winning Gold in Olympics and I am working on that.”

Back in the Punia family home in Sonepat and in Bajrang’s village Khuddan in Haryana’s Jhajjar district, though, it was celebration time.

“I was a university-level wrestler and Bajrang’s elder brother Harender, too, wrestled. We owned a three-acre farm in our village, and Bajrang went to the local akhadas.

In 2005, we enrolled him at the Lala Diwan Chand Akhara in Chhara village, 35 km from our village. Iska din subah teen baje start hota tha tab, aur aaj bhi yahi aadat hai. (His day began at 3 am then, and he still follows that schedule.)

Desh ka pehla gold medal jeet ke Bajrang ne purey desh ko yeh tohfa diya hai. (Bajrang has given the country a gift by winning India’s first gold),” said 66-year-old Balwan Singh Punia, Bajrang’s father.

A quick look at Bajrang Punia – India’s Asian Games gold medallist:

Age:       24
Born:      02/26/1994 HARYANA (INDIA)
Height:   170 CM / 5’7″
Weight:  67 KG / 148 LBS


He began wrestling at age seven.

He was encouraged to take up the sport by his father Balwan Singh Punia. “In Haryana [in India], virtually every village has ample space where children play either wrestling or kabaddi on the soil. My elder brother would go to the akhaada (wrestling pit) consistently and I began going with him. He left out wrestling, yet it turned into a day by day schedule for me. My dad constantly needed one of his children to consider up wrestling seriously, thus he encouraged me to pursue the wrestling.”

Jagminder Singh [national], IND;  Yogeshwar Dutt [personal] IND

To compete at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

He was named the Wrestler of the Year for 2017 at the Times of India Sports Awards.

In August 2015 he received the Arjuna Award from the government of India.

He joined the Indian Railways under a sports quota programme that allows him to train and compete internationally.

Indian wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt.

Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak, IND

English, Hindi

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