Wrestler Deepak Punia won gold medal for India at the ongoing Junior World Championships in Tallinn, Estonia on Wednesday. He defeated Russia’s Alik Shebzukov to win the 86 kg junior freestyle world title after a 2-2 result in the final.
Punia was declared the winner because he had the last point-scoring move in the bout.
Having bagged a silver medal in 2018, Punia reached the final of the 86 kg category on Tuesday to make it to back-to-back gold medal bouts.
In Tallinn, Punia racked up three impressive wins to enter the final against Shebzukhov of Russia. He began the day with a 10-1 victory over Milan Korcsog of Hungary in the pre-quarterfinal and then defeated Hunter Lee of Canada 5-1. Both were slow-paced bouts with Punia playing by the clock well to tire his opponents.
Punia finished fifth in 2017 before clinching a silver medal in the 2018 edition. In 2019, he has gone one better.
Punia, a cadet world champion in 2016, has had a series of good results in the senior category and will also represent India at the World Championships in Kazakhstan, which will also serve as the Olympic qualification tournament.
Punia, thus, ended a wait of 18 years for India. The last gold medal at the junior wrestling world championships won by an India was back in 2001, where Ramesh Kumar (69 kg) and Palwinder Singh Cheema (130 kg) finished on top of the podium.
Later in the day, Vicky Chahar clinched bronze medal in the 92kg category. He also made it to the podium in 2016 cadet championships like Punia, when he won bronze in a higher weight class.