The 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics are less than six months away, and two Indian wrestlers Bajrang Punia and Ravi Kumar Dahiya are now on high expectations for the grand event, following their success at the Rome Ranking Series. The two have secured one gold each in their respective categories at the summit clash on Saturday.
Bajrang Punia, who competes in the 65 kg weight category, overpowered Jordan Michael Oliver, the American who was defeated 4-3 in the final round. Two times bronze and one silver medal winner at the World Wrestling Championships, Punia was hailed even by his opponent Oliver himself following the match.
On his official Twitter handle, Oliver praised Punia: “Wasnt my night… but I got a lot of work to do to be where I want to be ! Hats off to @BajrangPunia dude is heck of a competitor! Until next time my friend!”
United World Wrestling’s official Twitter uploaded a clip of the highlights of the match. Check it out below-
— United World Wrestling (@wrestling) January 18, 2020
Punia spoke to PTI in the post match interview: “Yes the bouts were close, it’s just first tournament of the season so I was a bit rusty. I had a feeling going into this tournament that the performance will be a bit up and down.”
However, the close calls were beneficial to him, Punia continued: “But having close bouts is not a worry, it’s good. It keeps me alert and gives ne chance to ponder over my shortcomings.”
Hailing from the city of Jhajjar in Haryana, Punia has previously won gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and also in 2018 Asian Games. The 25 year old won two golds at the Asian Wrestling Championships, first time in 2017 in New Delhi and the second one in 2019 in Xi’an, China.
The 2019 World Wrestling Championships bronze medal winner Ravi Kumar Dahiya, who is a 57 kg category wrestler, competed in the 61 kg for the Rome Ranking Series. However, the different category was no hurdle, as the 23 year old Haryanvi completely devastated his opponent Nurbolat Abdualiyev from Kazakhstan 12-2 in the final.
The youngster, who hails from Sonipat, secured silver at the 2018 World U23 Wrestling Championship in Bucharest, Romania.