Bajrang Punia is India’s biggest hope for a medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Hailing from Jhajjar, Haryana, the 27-year-old, took the mantle from twin Olympic medalist Sushil Kumar in 2018 and has been the flag-bearer of Indian wrestling since then. A man of many firsts, Bajrang Punia will represent India in the 65kg men’s freestyle.
Bajrang Punia hails a humble background and took up the sport at the age of seven. He later moved to Delhi to train under Olympic medalist Yogeshwar Dutt. In 2015, his family moved to Sonepat so that he could attend the camp at the regional center of Sports Authority of India.
He is the first Indian to rank World No.1 in any category. Moreover, he is the first Indian wrestler to win three world championship medals and the first one to participate in the renowned German League.
Bajrang Punia qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in 2019 at the world championship. He won the bronze medal to confirm India’s 65 kg berth. He is currently training in Russia with his coach Shako Bentinidis. This will be his first Olympic Games.
The wrestler has been seeded second and will take to the mat at the Tokyo Olympics on August 6.
Bajrang Punia’s biography
Date of Birth: February 26, 1994
Birth Place: Jhajjar, Haryana
Sport/Event(s): Wrestling (Men’s Freestyle - 65kg)
Current World Ranking: 1
Bajrang Punia’s earnings
He is currently an employee of Indian Railways as a Gazette officer of OSD Sports. In addition to this, he is also affiliated with JSW Sports and Optimum Nutrition. Bajrang Punia is also part of Indian government’s Target Olympics Podium Scheme (TOPS). As of 2019, his total earnings were INR 2.4 crore, according to Forbes' report.
Bajrang Punia’s Major achievements:
* Silver - Almaty Asian Championships (65kg)
* Silver - New Delhi Asian Championships (65kg)
* Gold - Xi'an Asian Championships (65kg)
* Bronze - Nur-Sultan World Championships (65kg)
* Gold - Jakarta Asian Games (65kg)
* Gold - Gold Coast Commonwealth Games (65kg)
* Silver - Budapest World Championships (65kg)
* Bronze - Bishkek Asian Championships (65kg)
* Gold - New Delhi Asian Championships (65kg)
* Silver - Bydgoszcz World U23 Championships (65kg)
* Gold - Brakpan Commonwealth Championship (65kg)
* Gold - Ashgabat Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (70kg)
* Gold - Singapore Commonwealth Championship (65kg)
* Silver - Glasgow Commonwealth Games (61kg)
* Silver - Incheon Asian Games (61kg)
* Silver - Astana Asian Championships (61kg)
* Bronze - Budapest World Championships (60kg)
* Bronze - New Delhi Asian Championships (60kg)