Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia successfully defended his 65kg title at the Matteo Pellicone Ranking series in Rome, last Sunday. On the other hand, Vishal Kaliramana added another medal to India’s tally by claiming a bronze in the 70kg category while Narsingh Yadav (80kg) bowed out without a prize.
Taking the wrestling mat in an international event after more than a year, it was time Bajrang Punia gauged his current status in the build-up to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Even though he took part in an invitational tournament a few months ago in the USA and then faced Zain Retherford in an exhibition match a few days back, the Matteo Pellicone Ranking series was the first major assignment since the Asian Championships in Delhi, last year.
Fortunately, Punia’s sublime touch hasn’t suffered a huge dent, as he came back from a deficit to pin down Mongolia’s Tulga Tumur Ochir in the gold medal match, in Rome. With 0-2 down and 30 seconds left on the clock, Punia’s spark of brilliance in the dying moments of the game was enough to pull back the score to 2-2 to emerge victorious on criteria.
Vishal Kaliramana added another medal to India’s tally after he had the better of Syrbaz Talgat in the bronze medal match of the 70kg category. Meanwhile, Narsingh Yadav, competing in the 74kg category, was blanked 0-5 in the bronze medal match by Daniyar Kaisanov of Kazakhstan.