Everything you need to know about the Freestyle wrestler - BAJRANG PUNIA - First Web

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Friday, August 24, 2018

Everything you need to know about the Freestyle wrestler - BAJRANG PUNIA

Haryana is undoubtedly become the land of Indian wrestling. In recent time, more than half of the Indian wrestlers have come from the state, with most these gems winning medals for India, and Bajrang Punia is leading the pack. Continue to read about the 2-time Asian Games gold medalist wrestler.

HAILED FROM KHUDAN VILLAGE 
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Bajrang Punia was born on 26th February 1994 in Khudan village of JhaJJar district, In the state of Haryana.

STARTED WRESTLING AT AN EARLY AGE
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He took up the sport of wrestling at an early age of seven and was encouraged to pursue the sport by his father, Balwan Singh Punia.

FATHER WAS HIS INSPIRATION
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Bajrang's father was a pehelwan (wrestler) in his youth and then took up farming as his full-time profession. Bajrang was inspired by his father to take up the sport as he wanted at least one wrestler in his family.

HAD NO INTEREST IN STUDIES 
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At a young age, Bajrang realized that he had no interest in academics and used to bunk school lectures and run away to local akhadas to learn wrestling. By the age of 1 1, he began traveling to popular akhadas far from hls village and trained at Virender ka akhada for a duration of two and a half years. After this stint, Bajrang trained at the famous "Mahabali Satpal Akhada' at the Chhatrasal Stadium.

HE CONSIDEREDS YOGESHWAR DUTT AS HIS " GURU"
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Punia has been training hard under the supervision of four-time Olympian and lndlan wrestling legend Yogeshwar Dutt since his early days. The young Bajrang was inspired by the hard work, determination, and tenacity of Dutt, who was giving it all to make it on the large stage after grabbing a bronze medal at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha.

FIRST MEDAL VICTORY AT THE WORLD WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS
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At a young age of 19, Bajrang went on to participate in the World Wrestling Championships in Budapest, Hungary after his 'guru" Yogeshwar Dutt had pulled out citing an injury. Bajrang performed well and managed to win the bronze medal, which brought him into the spotlight on the national stage. 

TWO SILVERS IN 2014 
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In 2014 Asian Games in South Korea, Bajrang won the silver medal in the men’s freestyle 61 kg category, after losing 1-3 to Masoud Esmailpour Jouybari of Iran. Again in Asian Wrestling Championships Astana, Kazakhstan, Punia again silver medal In the men’s freestyle 61 kg category. 

BAJRANG STEPPED UP TO THE 65 KG CATEGORY FOR RIO
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"Before Rio Olympics, Yogi bhai told
me that it would be his last Olympics, and he asked me to step up to 65 kg category because 61 kg is not an Olympics category. It was his dream to win an Olympic gold, but sadly he couldn't realize it. He wants me fulfil his dream; his dream is my dream too."
- Bajrang said 

ARJUNA AWARD HONOR IN 2015

For his achievements in wrestling, the Indian government decided to award Bajrang with the prestigious Arjuna Award in the year 2015. He also won the Dave Schultz Memorial Tournament in the same year. 

BAJARANG'S FAMILY RELOCATED TO SONEPAT FOR HIS TRAINING
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After his persistent success on the world stage, Bajrang decided to move to the Sports Authority of India center in Sonepat, Haryana to train for all the big events. In 2015, His family was supportive of this decision and relocated from Khudan to Sonepat for him. 

WORKS AS TTE
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The 24-year-old Haryana wrestler works as a Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE) with Indian Railway. However, his family has demanded the post of Deputy Superintendent of police with the Haryana police. 


JSW OWNED HIM IN PRO WRESTLING LEAGUE 
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Bajrang was the second acquisition of the JSW owned Bangalore franchise in the auction conducted in New Delhi. 
The wrestler was picked up for a sum of Rs 29.5 lakh. The Pro Wrestling League was scheduled to be held from 10 December to 27 December across 6 cities. 

"WRESTLING MY LIFE"
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For someone who never bothered with schooling, Bajrang has got three English words right, and he has pasted them at the back of his SUV: Wrestling My Life. Read them without context, and the absence of a comma tells you that Bajrang Punia’s life has been a never-ending struggle. 

STRUGGLED WITH STEADY INCOME 
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Bajrang says, “Nobody had a job and a steady income at home. Papa kheti karte the. My elder brother doesn't have a job. This sport has given me everything. 
I feel very nice that I have changed the condition of my family.” 

CHANGE IN APPROACH 
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Punia’s approaching to wrestling changed after a first-round loss in the 2017 World Championships in Paris. It was only when others approached him about his mistakes, he realised that it was his job to Improve himself. Since then, he has been spending more time learning about new wrestling trends, while tracking the progress of his opponents across the world. 

FIRST INTERNATIONAL GOLD IN 2017 
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In 2017 Asian Wrestling Championship Bajrang won a gold medal taming South Korea’s Seunghul Lee 6-2 in the men’s 65kg freestyle category at Delhi. 

2013 HAS BEEN A PRODUCTIVE ONE FOR BAJRANG

2018 has been a superb year for the 24-year-old wrestler as he has won four gold medals and a bronze medal in the four events that he has competed in. Bajrang won the gold medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games,Tbilisi Grand Prix, and Yasar Dogu International in Istanbul and the bronze medal at the Asian Championships in Bishkek.

EARNED GREEN TICKET WITHOUT A TRAIL 
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Punia, alongside Sushil Kumar, was given a green ticket to the Asian Games 2018 without a trial as the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) thought the duo were far more superior than the other domestic competitors in their respective categories. 


GOLD AT 2018 ASIAN GAMES 
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On August 19th, As he promised the Gold medal to his family, he won the Men‘s freestyle 65 kg /Gold medal. 
He defeated Japanese Wrestler Takatani Daichi 11-8; the score was locked  at 6-6 after the first round. 


LOOKING FORWARD 
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''I am gunning for Olympics and so immediately after this, training for the World Championships will start,” Punia said after opening India's gold tally. 

BOTTOM LINE:
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The boy in the crowd in Khudan village who once wanted to see and touch Yogeshwar Dutt is living his life by Yogeshwar’s rules and dreams. Fulfilled his family dreams as a wrestling champion. And now, brought us the first gold to open in Asian Games 2018. 

Kudos to his contributions to Indian sports. 












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