indian wrestler Bajrang Punished won a bronze medal in the men’s 65kg on the final day of 2022 World Wrestling Championships in Belgrade, Serbia on Sunday.
Struggling with a bandage on his head due to the injury he sustained in Saturday’s quarter-finals, Bajrang Punia produced a spirited fight against Sebastian Rivera of Puerto Rico, the Pan American Championships silver medalist, after being trailed 6-0 early in the fight. .
Bajrang Punia eventually cut the lead and led 8-9 before the last minute of the second period. The Tokyo 2020 bronze medalist then pulled off a two-point takedown and a point in the final 20 seconds to turn the tide and win the fight 11-9.
It was Bajrang Punia’s fourth medal at the world championships. Bajrang Punia, with silver medals in 2018 and bronze medals in 2013 and 2019, was already India’s most successful wrestler at the upcoming world championships in this edition.
Earlier, Bajrang Punia won his repechage round against Under-23 World Championship silver medalist Vazgen Tevanyan 7-6 after trailing 4-1 at the end of the first period.
On Saturday, Bajrang Punia, seeking his first world championship gold, started with a 5-4 win over Cuban two-time world bronze medalist Alejandro Valdes.
Although Bajrang Punia progressed, he got injured and had to fight in the next round with a bandage on his head.
Bajrang Punia then lost to former Pan American champion John Diakomihalis of the United States in the quarter-finals, but entered the repechage after Diakomihalis advanced to the finals.
At the 2022 World Championships, India fielded a strong 30-member contingent which involved men’s and women’s freestyle wrestling competitions as well as Greco-Roman wrestling. India sent 10 wrestlers for each of the three categories.
While the three-time Commonwealth Games champion Vinesh Phogat won a bronze medal in the women’s 53 kg, silver medalist at Tokyo 2020 Ravi Kumar Dahiya failed to medal in the men’s 57 kg category.
India also came back with two medals at the last edition of the world championships, which took place after the Tokyo Olympics. Anshu Malik won silver at women’s 57kg while Sarita Mor won bronze at 59kg.
India’s medalists at the 2022 World Wrestling Championships
Bajrang Punia – bronze in the men’s 65 kg freestyle
Vinesh Phogat – bronze in the women’s 53 kg freestyle