Bajrang Punia becomes World No. 1 after bagging gold in Rome

Ace Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia has regained the number one spot in the rankings after clinching a second successive gold medal at the Matteo Pallicone Ranking Series.

Punia defeated Mongolia’s Tulga Tumur Ochir 2-2 by criteria in the 65kg freestyle event final in Rome on Sunday. He rallied to win after getting a two-pointer in the last 30 seconds of the bout.

The 27-year-old, who was playing his first international competition since the COVID-19 pandemic, made full use of the tournament before the much-awaited Tokyo Olympics.

Punia was placed second in the rankings before the start of the tournament and is now placed at the numero uno spot in the 65kg category with 14 points.

Last year, the Indian grappler had defeated USA’s Jordan Oliver in the final to clinch the gold medal at the tournament.

Punia had earned a quota for the Tokyo Games in September 2019 after winning a bronze medal at the World Championships. The prestigious quadrennial event is set to take place from July 23-August 8 this year. The Games were scheduled to take place last year but were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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