Bajrang Punia is the only Indian wrestler to be seeded from a 30-man strong Indian squad that travelled to Hungary for the World Wrestling Championships which is slated to begin on October 20. Punia, who is the reigning Asian champion, has been seeded third in the men’s 65 kg freestyle category.
Bajrang, is arguably in the form in his life after he bagged back-to-back medals at this year’s Gold Coast CWG and the recently concluded Asian Games in Indonesia last month. He was the most prominent name in WFI’s 30-man squad that was set to travel to Budapest in Hungary for the World Wrestling Championships along with the likes of Sakshi Malik and Pooja Dhanda.
However, despite the presence of some strong names in the Indian squad, Punia was the only Indian to get a seeding at the upcoming World Championships in Budapest. The Asian Games and CWG gold-medalist has been seeded third in the 65kg category of the men’s freestyle competition. The Indian wrestler will be a strong medal contender at the prestigious event, which is slated to be contested from October 20 to 28.
The United World Wrestling recently introduced the ranking-points based seeding system at the World Championships for the first time. Bajrang managed to score 45 points in the ranking list which was announced by the world body.
Recent ranking tournaments such as Tbilisi Grand Prix in Georgia and Yasar Dogu International in Istanbul have been considered for the World Championship. Turkey’s Selahattin Kilicsallayan is the top seed (50 points) in the 65kg while Ilias Bekbulatov from Russia is second, followed Haji Aliyev from Azerbaijan at fourth behind Punia.
Bajrang, who won a bronze at the 2013 World Championship and is aiming said, “I had come here early to get acclimatized to conditions and am fully focused. I hope I can live up to everybody’s expectations and return home with a gold medal."
The 24-year-old has been training at the Mátraháza Olympic Training Center for the past two weeks.
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