Bajrang Punia showcased his trademark second period resilience as he once again overcame a deficit to win his second major Championship in as many weeks by beating Russia’s Viktor Rassadin 13-8 in the 65kg finals of the Ali Aliev international wrestling tournament in Kapiisk, Russia.
After winning the Asian Championships in Xi’an, China last week, Bajrang came through stiff resistance from a host of local favourites over two days, to prove his credentials as the world’s best wrestler in his category. With the wins, Bajrang has cemented his place on top of the World Rankings this year and is currently the highest ranked freestyle Asian wrestler in the world.
“I think the fact that I’m competing in 3 different continents in 3 weeks is itself an incredible feat and I’m thankful for all the support I’ve received through this period. I did have the belief that I could do well in these competitions and am pleased with my performances so far. I am now looking forward to participating at Madison Square Garden and will continue to do my best to live up to the nation’s expectations in the tournaments to come,” Bajrang said after this win. He was accompanied by personal coach Shako Bentinidis and physiotherapist Manish Chhetri.
Bajrang, who is part of the JSW Sports Excellence Program, will now get on the road once again as he heads to New York for the Beat The Streets ‘Grapple At the Garden’ benefit on May 6 at the historic Madison Square Garden arena. Bajrang has been invited for the charity event where he will take on former cadet world champion and two-time NCAA champion Yianni Diakomihalis.