Bajrang Punia and Ravi Dahiya won two gold medals for India on the final day of the Matteo Pellicone ranking series tournament in Rome. While Punia won the medal in 65 kg weight category, Dahiya captured the gold in 61 kg, a non-Olympic weight category.
Punia once again showed his grit and come-from-behind ability to win bouts as he won four of them on Saturday. In the final, he defeated Jordan Oliver of USA in a rematch of the 2019 Dan Kolov finals.
He began with a narrow 5-4 win over Zain Retherford of USA in the opening round. After tying the bout at 3-3 in the second period, Punia exposed Retherford with a chest wrap to take a 5-3 lead and hung on to it till the end of the bout. In the quarter-final, he faced another USA wrestler Joseph McKenna and once again came out on top 4-2.
Punia was once again tested in the semi-finals as Vasyl Shuptar of Ukraine. Punia was leading 5-2 but Shuptar trimmed it to 5-4 with two points via pushout before attacking Punia in the final seconds. But the Indian wrestler evaded the attacks well and reached the final.
Against Oliver, Punia followed a similar script like the Dan Kolov finals. He trailed 0-3 at the end of the first period but scored two points from two stepouts before exposing Oliver on his back in a scramble. He hung on for a 4-3 win.
Joining him at the top of the podium was Dahiya who won all three bouts in the Nordic system to claim a gold medal at his debut ranking series event. Dahiya, whose original category is 57 kg, defeated Alexandru Chirtoaca of Moldova 15-5 before a 6-0 win over fellow 57 kg world championships bronze medallist Nurislam Sanayev of Kazakhstan. In the final bout, he completed a 12-2 win over Nurbolat Abdualiyev of Kazakhstan to win the gold.
Two other Indian wrestlers, Jitender and Deepak Punia, were also in action in the 74 kg and 86 kg respectively but failed to reach the medal rounds on Saturday.
All four will now be participating in the Asian Championships which will be held in New Delhi from February 18 to 23.