Bajrang Punia clinched the fourth Wrestling World Championships medal of his career as he defeated Puerto Rico’s Sebastian Rivera in a thrilling bout in the men’s 65kg freestyle category on Sunday.
Competing with protection on his head after a cut during the first bout on Saturday left him bleeding and in need of extensive attention from medics, Bajrang had lost in the quarterfinal to American grappler Yianni Diakomihalis. But on Sunday he went on to win both his repechage matches to book his spot on the podium.
The 28-year-old Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist had previously won three world championship medals – bronze at Budapest 2013, silver at Budapest 2018 and bronze at Nur-Sultan 2019.
In his first repechage round in Belgrade on Sunday, Bajrang defeated Armenia’s Vazgen Tevanyan 7-6 after being 4-0 down. He was put under intense pressure in the dying seconds of the bout but held firm to get the win.
Bajrang then got his second come-from-behind win with a fantastic performance against Rivera in the bronze medal match. He was down 0-6 early in the contest but pulled a quick manoeuvre to make it 4-6. He then trailed 6-9 but fought back yet again to close out a memorable 11-9 win.
India's senior Worlds medallists
|2021-10-04||Oslo||Anshu, Anshu||Female wrestling||57.0||2.|
|1967-11-12||New Dehli||Singh, Bishamber Ali||Freestyle||57.0||2.|
|2019-09-19||Nur-Sultan||Aware, Rahul Balasaheb||Freestyle||61.0||3.|
|2019-09-16||Nur-Sultan||Phogat, Vinesh||Female wrestling||53.0||3.|
|2018-10-22||Budapest||Dhanda, Pooja||Female wrestling||57.0||3.|
|2015-09-10||Las Vegas||Yadav, Narsingh Panchav||Freestyle||74.0||3.|
|2012-09-27||Strathcona County||Babita, Kumari||Female wrestling||51.0||3.|
|2012-09-27||Strathcona County||Geeta||Female wrestling||55.0||3.|
|2009-09-21||Herning||Kumar, Rames 3||Freestyle||74.0||3.|
|2006-09-29||Guangzhou||Tomar, Alka||Female wrestling||59.0||3.|
|2022-09-14||Belgrade||Phogat, Vinesh||Female wrestling||53.0||3.|
Medal stats courtesy UWW database.