Deepak Punia will compete in the men's 86 kg freestyle category at the Olympics 2021. The grappler has quickly become one of the standout names in the freestyle event and has won several international competitions.
Deepak rose to fame after he won silver at the World Championships in 2019. The grappler powered his way through some tough competition to get to the medal. A similar challenge awaits him in Tokyo. Before the start of his Olympic campaign, let's have a look at how Deepak Punia has performed since the World Championship silver in 2019.
Deepak Punia's performances after his World Championships silver medal triumph
2020 Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series
Deepak Punia 1 - 11 Ramos Ethan Adrian
The Indian grappler looked a shadow of himself in this competition. His opponent completely dominated him to take an easy win, which meant that Punia - a World Championship silver medalist - would make a first-round exit in the Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series.
2020 Asian Championships
Tournament results: 1/4 Final: Gankhuyag Ganbaatar 2 - 8 Deepak Punia
1/2 Final: Yamada Shutaro 1 - 4 Deepak Punia
Bronze medal match: Abdulsalam Abdulwahhab 0 - 10 Deepak Punia
After a disappointing outcome at the Matteo Pellicone ranking series, Punia was all set to compete at the depleted Asian Championships, held in India. He won the first round comfortably against Ganbaatar, but was stopped in the second round by Japan's Yamada Shutaro.
Check Out: Tokyo Olympics 2021 Schedule
Despite all his efforts, Deepak was unable to get the better of the Japanese wrestler. He looked all gassed out in the 1/2 finals, and Yamada took full advantage.
Punia overcame the disappointment and secured a bronze after defeating his Egyptian opponent by technical superiority.
2020 Individual World Cup
Tournament results: 1/8 final: Ivars Samunsonoks 7 - 14 Deepak Punia
1/4 final: Uri Kalashnikov 0 - 8 Deepak Punia
1/2 Final: Kurugliev Dauren 4 - 0 Deepak Punia
Piotr Ianulov 4 - 1 Deepak Punia
Yet another disappointing finish for Deepak Punia. The Indian once again put in a good effort in the first round, but he fell awfully short in the 1/2 final against Kurugliev Dauren. He faced further disappointment when he lost the bronze after a 4 - 1 defeat to Piotr Ianulov.
Check out: Deepak Punia wrestling matches schedule and details (4 August): When and where to watch, opponents, timings (IST)
2021 Senior Asian Championships
Tournament results: Qualifiers - Isa Shapiev 2 - 9 Deepak Punia
1/4 final: Bakhodur Kodirov 3 - 4 Deepak Punia
1/2 final: Kim Gwanuk 0 - 2 Deepak Punia
Final: Hassan Yazdani 10 - 0 Deepak Punia
Right from the qualifiers, Deepak Punia looked at his very best. He improvised brilliantly on his moves and secured some big wins to make it to the finals. Waiting for him in the finals was his idol Hassan Yazdani. The Indian was schooled by the Iranian wrestler as he was defeated by technical superiority and had to settle for silver.
2021 Poland Open
Tournament Results: Valencia Zahid 0 - 5 Deepak Punia
Sebastian Jezieranski 5 - 0 Deepak Punia
After winning the first round, Deepak Punia pulled out of the tournament owing to an elbow injury.
Record since 2019 World Championships silver medal
Matches Played: 13
Matches won: 8
Matches lost: 5
The Indian grappler has had a few great runs in some events but has failed to win a single gold medal since his Junior World Championships triumph. He is currently ranked eighth in the world and will be competing against some high-ranked grapplers in Tokyo. The biggest threat for the Indian will be the Iranian grappler Hassan Yazdani, who Deepak has previously had no answers against.
Also Read: Deepak Punia at Olympics 2021: Wrestling draw analysis, schedule, opponents and a possible pathway