Bajrang Punia,winner of the 2014 Commonwealth and Asian Games silver medals, added another feather in his cap on Friday. The 20-year-old won the gold in men’s 61kg Freestyle category at the prestigious Dave Schultz Memorial International Wrestling Championship held at Colorado Springs, USA.
Bajrang beats Flegontov for the gold
Bajrang overcame Russian Vladimir Flegontov 12-3 to bag the yellow metal. Earlier, he had beaten another Russian Murshid Mutalimov 6-4 in the last-eight stage. It was a tough proposition for him in the semi-finals as he faced American Joseph McKenna who had won a silver medal at the Junior World Championships. The young Indian grappler edged McKenna 3-2 in the semis to earn his place in the final.
Bajrang Punia had ended 5th and 3rd in his earlier two attempts at the tournament.
Bajrang remains the only Indian medallist from this event
However, apart from Bajrang, none of the other Indian competitors could bring any cheer to the Indian camp. According to information received by the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), Rahul Aware (57kg), Praveen Rana (70kg) and Narsingh Pancham Yadav (74kg) bowed out of medal contention.
In another disappointing news from the event, India’s marquee wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt could not participate in the 65kg competition as he was taken ill.