The Asian Games are taking place in Indonesia from August 18 till September 2nd and Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia hit bullseye for India on the very first day with a Gold in the 65Kgs category.
Hailing from the Khudan village of Jhajjar district in Haryana, he began wrestling at the age of seven. Bajrang has been training under the guidance of four-time Olympian Yogeshwar Dutt since his early days as a wrestler. In an interview, Punia revealed that it was the senior wrestler who asked him to step up to the 65kg category because 61kg wasn’t an Olympic category.
This win is even more special since Bajrang hit a low point in his sporting career last year after he crashed out in the very first round in the 2017 World Championship in Paris. The loss led to some serious introspection. The Haryana grappler spoke to Indian Express about how he decided to radically change his style and commitment to the sport “I was not enjoying wrestling. I used to go and wrestle and come back. Win or loss didn’t matter. I never checked my mistakes. In a way, I was betraying my sport. I learnt in the last 10 months that wrestling is more than just going out there and fighting with another guy on the mat.”
Bajrang has really upped his game since then. He entered the Asian Games 2018 after winning three tournaments — Commonwealth Games, Tbilisi Grand Prix and Yasar Dogu International — and continued his great run with his maiden gold in Jakarta on Sunday. Such was his domination that the 24-year-old from Haryana won all his bouts, until the final, by technical superiority. He outclassed Uzbekistan’s Sirojiddin Khasanov (13-3), Tajikistan’s Fayziev Abdulqosim (12-2) and Mongolia’s N Batmagnai Batchuluu (10-0) to storm into the gold medal bout.
He dedicated his win to his idol Atal behari Vajpayee, India’s former Prime Minister who passed away last week.
Twitter congratulations by celebrities:
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) August 19, 2018
— Anil Kapoor (@AnilKapoor) August 19, 2018
— Saina Nehwal (@NSaina) August 19, 2018
— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) August 19, 2018
ज़िन्दगी बदलने के लिए लड़ना पड़ता है और आसान करने के लिए समझना पड़ता है….!!🇮🇳👍 pic.twitter.com/UAo4j9wbVc
— Bajrang Punia (@BajrangPunia) August 14, 2018