Former Asian Games gold medallist Bajrang dominated the men’s 65kg bronze medal bout from start to finish, which ended in a 8-0 scoreline in favour of the Indian 27-year-old.
Bajrang’s bronze is the 7th medal in wrestling at the Olympics for India. He is the second Indian to bag a medal in this Olympics after Ravi Kumar Dahiya.
KD Jadhav was the first Indian wrestler to win an Olympic medal at the 1952 Helsinki Games which was then followed by a bronze and silver by Sushil Kumar in the 2008 and 2012 Games in Beijing and Rio, respectively, to become the first Indian athlete to win 2 individual Olympic medals.
Yogeshwar Dutt clinched the bronze in London after winning three bouts in a row in repechage. Four years later Sakshi Malik became India’s first female wrestler to bag a medal when she clinched the bronze in Rio.
Bajrang Punia (born 26 February 1994) is a freestyle wrestler from India.Punia was born in Jat family in Khudan village of Jhajjar district in the state of Haryana, India. He began wrestling at the age of seven and was encouraged to pursue the sport by his father. Punia grew up in rural India, a poor part of the country. His family did not have money for traditional sports. Instead, he had to partake in free sports like wrestling and Kabaddi.Punia’s father was a wrestler as well and at a young age, his family started him at a local mud wrestling school. Punia started to skip school to go to wrestling practice. In 2015, his family moved to Sonepat so that he can attend a regional centre of Sports Authority of India.He is the only Indian wrestler to have won three medals at the World Wrestling Championship.
His first major tournament was the 2013 Asian Wrestling Championship in New Delhi. He settled for bronze at the tournament after losing to North Korea’s Hwang Ryong-hak in the men’s freestyle 60-kg category. In the World Wrestling Championship 2013, Punia won a bronze medal in the 60-kg category. In 2014, Punia upgraded the colour of his medal to silver at the Commonwealth Games in the men’s 61-kg category. He repeated the performance in the 2014 Asian Games. Again, in 2014, Punia settled for a silver medal at the 2014 Asian Wrestling Championship. At the 2015 World Wrestling Championship, he performed poorly and finished 5th in the tournament. He tasted his first gold medal, finally, after two years at the 2017 Asian Wrestling Championship held in Delhi. He won another gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2018 in the men’s freestyle 65-kg category. He scored his 3rd gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games. He became world number 1 in the 65-kg category after clinching a silver medal at the 2018 World Wrestling Championship. A bronze medal at the 2019 World Championship earned him a ticket to the 2020 Summer Olympics.