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.

Wrestling: What does repechage mean?

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

Date.  Place  Name  Style  Weight  Rank 
2010-09-10  Moscow  Kumar, Sushil  Freestyle  66.0  1. 
2021-10-04  Oslo  Anshu, Anshu  Female wrestling  57.0  2. 
2019-09-19  Nur-Sultan  Punia, Deepak  Freestyle  86.0  2. 
2018-10-20  Budapest  Punia, Bajrang  Freestyle  65.0  2. 
2013-09-16  Budapest  Kumar, Amit*  Freestyle  55.0  2. 
1967-11-12  New Dehli  Singh, Bishamber Ali  Freestyle  57.0  2. 
2021-10-04  Oslo  Sarita  Female wrestling  59.0  3. 
2019-09-19  Nur-Sultan  Kumar, Ravi  Freestyle  57.0  3. 
2019-09-19  Nur-Sultan  Aware, Rahul Balasaheb  Freestyle  61.0  3. 
2019-09-19  Nur-Sultan  Punia, Bajrang  Freestyle  65.0  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. 
2013-09-20  Budapest  Yadav, Sandeep  Greco-Roman  66.0  3. 
2013-09-16  Budapest  Punia, Bajrang Freestyle  60.0  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.
2022-09-18 Belgrade Punia, Bajrang Freestyle 65.0 4.
*Amit Kumar 2 as referenced on the UWW database (Note: Beach Wrestling not included)

Medal stats courtesy UWW database.