Bajrang Punia attains World Number 1 ranking in wrestling
Bajrang Punia has had a phenomenal run in the past one year. What better way to end it than to achieve the World Number 1 ranking. The Indian grappler recently won a silver medal at the 2018 World Championships in Budapest, losing to the Japanese Takuto Otoguro in the summit clash. However, the highlight of the year was when Punia made the entire nation proud by winning a gold at the 2018 Asiad in Jakarta as well as the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.
The 24-year-old has just looked unstoppable of late and as a result, reached a new high in his career. Bajrang has now amassed 96 points in the Seniors Freestyle 65 kg category, which is a massive 30 points ahead of 2nd placed Alejandro Enrique of Cuba, who has 66 points. In fact, the Cuban grappler was defeated by Bajrang in the semifinal at Budapest World Championships by a narrow margin.
The Haryana-born grappler has proved his dominance on the mat time and again by performing extremely well in pressure situations and has now added another feather to his cap. Under the tutelage of Shako Benitidis and 'guru' Yogeshwar Dutt, Bajrang has achieved paramount success.
Even though Bajrang missed out on a World Championships gold, he is still going strong and is optimistic about the coming year as well. Many believe that he has it in him to bring India an Olympic medal.
There is no other male Indian grappler in the top 10 list of any category besides Bajrang.
The female wrestlers, however, are on the move in the rankings with several of them featuring on the top-10 list in their respective categories. After winning a bronze at the Worlds, Pooja Dhanda reached the 6th spot in the Women's 57 kg category with 52 points. Navjot Kaur is 9th in the 68 kg category while Kiran is at the same spot in the 76 kg category. Meanwhile, Sarita Mor is at the 7th spot in the 59 kg category and finally, Ritu Phogat is placed number 10 in the 50 kg category.
After being snubbed for the Khel Ratna this year, Bajrang had expressed his displeasure. However, he has since moved on and kept his focus on the sport and if he continues in the same vein, he is sure to bag the top sporting honour of the country sooner or later.