Bajrang Punia reckons on Indian wrestling medal return at Olympics

Indian wrestlers have sealed four Olympic quotas from the 2019 World Wrestling Championships.

By Subhayan Dutta

Top Indian wrestler and world No. 2 in the 65kg category, Bajrang Punia is expecting Indian wrestlers to win a clutch of medals at the Tokyo Olympics next year.

One of the four Indians to win quotas from the 2019 world championships, Bajrang Punia believes that India's performance in Nur-Sultan was a good indicator of India's immense possibilities.

"I think we will win three to four medals from wrestling in the Tokyo Olympics,” Bajrang Punia said in table tennis player Mudit Dani’s Instagram chat show In The Sportlight.

“We were good at the 2019 World Championship, which is the toughest tournament of the sport. And India created history by winning four medals in it and qualify for the Tokyo Olympics as well.

“So, I think Indian wrestlers are in top form and will be strong contenders in Tokyo," Bajrang said.

Bajrang Punia is one of the four Indian wrestlers to have Olympic quota so far

Apart from Bajrang Punia, India also saw Vinesh Phogat, Deepak Punia and Ravi Kumar Dahiya winning medals to book Olympic spots at the 2019 Worlds.

Toughest category in the world

Despite Bajrang Punia’s brilliant form over the years and his current world ranking in the 65kg, the Haryana grappler is aware of the tough competition he must face in his weight category.

Considered to be one of the most competitive categories in Tokyo Olympics’ freestyle wrestling event, the 65kg has numerous stalwarts.

It includes 2018 world champion Rashidov Gadzhimurad of Russia, 2019 World Championship silver medallist Daulet Niyazbekov of Kazakhstan, Punia’s close rival Takuto Otoguro of Japan, Bahrain’s Al Haji Mohamad and Russia’s Ilias Bekbulatov.

"I feel 65kg is the toughest category in the world,” Bajrang Punia pointed out.

“There is no wrestler in this category who has successively won world championship titles or Olympic gold medals.

“There is always a new champion in every edition. There are strong wrestlers in this category who can beat anyone on their day," Punia reckoned.