CWG 2022: Wrestler Bajrang Punia cruises to 2nd successive Commonwealth Games gold 

Bajrang Punia is slowly but certainly on his way to establishing himself as one of India’s most decorated Indian wrestlers. The 28-year-old from Haryana won his second Commonwealth Games Gold medal, successfully defending his men’s 65kg category in Birmingham on Friday, August 5.

Bajrang Punia has completed a hat-trick of Commonwealth Games medals with the Gold in Birmingham adding to his Gold Coast Gold and Glasgow silver (61kg) category. The only Indian to win 3 World Championships medals stood on the top step of the podium after decimating his opponents en route to glory.

Bajrang came out tops against 21-year-old Lachlan McNeil of Canada, who found the Indian’s expertise and experience too hot to handle.

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Bajrang did not concede a single point throughout his run to the final in Birmingham but he conceded 2 against McNeil who came up with a strong fight against the hot Indian favourite. Bajrang went into the mid-bout interval with a 4-0 lead.

He conceded 2 points via a takedown in the second period but Bajrang used all his experience pull out from the grapple hold. In the end, Bajrang took the Gold medal, beating McNeil 9-2.

CWG 2022: Wrestler Bajrang Punia cruises to 2nd successive Commonwealth Games gold 

The Indian wrestler was criticised for not being aggressive enough at the Tokyo Games and he had highlighted how the recurring knee-injury concerns affected his approach at the highest level.

However, on Friday, Bajrang seemingly put behind negative thoughts to come up with a strong show to defend his crown.

Bajrang Punia was on fire against George Ramm of England in the semi-final, decimating him via technical superiority (without any point scored by the opponent).

Bajrang Punia needed less than two minutes to move to the 65kg quarterfinals at the Commonwealth Games as he pinned Naurau’s Lowe Bingham in his opening bout. He hammered Jean Guyliane Joris Bandou of Mauritius 6-0 via fall to book his place in the semi-final.

Bajrang, who has been one of the faces of the 65kg category in world wrestling, missed a Gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics despite having traveled to the Japanese capital last year as the favourite. Bajrang revealed after winning bronze at the Olympics that he carried a knee injury to the Olympics.

“15 days after I suffered that knee injury, I had pulled my left hamstring also but I did not want to cause a panic, so kept quiet and decided to fight with the injury,” said Bajrang after the Games.

The injury has been playing on his mind as he cut down on the aggressive approach that brought him success at the highest level. Bajrang injured himself after the Tokyo Olympics as well.

However, Bajrang proved on Friday that he can bounce back from setbacks and carry the mental strength to keep the fire burning for Paris 2024 dreams.

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