Bajrang Punia has won three World Championship medals. He won silver in 2018 and bronze in 2013 and 2019. Punia is also the current Asian Games and Commonwealth Games champion. He has won two gold medals at the Asian Championships as well.
Following Ravi Kumar Dahiya's silver medal in the men's 57kg freestyle, Bajrang Punia is expected to win India's first wrestling gold at the Olympics.
Before Bajrang Punia begins his Olympic campaign at Tokyo's Makuhari Messe arena, here are his strengths and weaknesses.
Bajrang Punia's strengths
Bajrang Punia knows how to stay calm in tough situations. He is rarely perturbed under pressure. This approach helps him make a comeback when the tide is against him.
When a calm mind is coupled with a superstrong body, a wrestler becomes impossible to beat. Punia is blessed with both. His stamina is unmatched. If he takes an early lead in the bout, his opponents will find it hard to score points against him.
Bajrang Punia's weaknesses
Often, Punia is slow off the blocks, giving his opponents an early window to score quick points. At the Olympic level, no athlete can afford to commit such errors.
Punia tends to concede points when the opponent goes for his legs. His vulnerability to leg attacks has lost him some crucial bouts in the past. He has worked on this shortcoming, but it is still an area of concern.
Bajrang Punia picked up an injury just ahead of the Olympics. The wrestler hasn't complained much about it but, in a tough bout, small niggles can flare up. His opponents would try to exploit the injury.
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Despite his weaknesses, India is highly optimistic of a medal from Bajrang Punia.