World Wrestling Championship | Bajrang Punia wins bronze, India end poor campaign
On the last day of the 2022 World Wrestling Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia took home a bronze medal in the men's 65 kg division. Punia battled back from an early 6-0 deficit against Puerto Rico's Sebastian Rivera while wearing a bandage on his head.
In the final minute of the second stanza, Bajrang Punia had ultimately trimmed the deficit to 8-9. The bronze medalist from Tokyo 2020 then turned the tables and won the match 11-9 with a two-point takedown and a point in the last 20 seconds.
At the world championships, Bajrang Punia won a medal for the fourth time. With a silver in 2018 and medals in 2013 and 2019, Bajrang Punia has already established himself as India's most successful wrestler in the world championships.
Earlier, after falling behind 4-1 at the end of the first session, Bajrang Punia came back to defeat under-23 world championships silver medalist Vazgen Tevanyan 7-6 in the repechage round.
Alejandro Valdes of Cuba, who had previously won the bronze medal at the world championships, was defeated 5-4 by Bajrang Punia on Saturday as he pursued his first world championships gold.
Despite making improvements, Bajrang Punia was forced to fight the following round wearing a bandage on his head due to an injury.
When losing to American John Diakomihalis, a previous Pan American champion, in the quarterfinals, Bajrang Punia moved on to the repechage since Diakomihalis advanced to the championship match.
India sent a strong 30-member delegation to compete in Greco-Roman wrestling, men's and women's freestyle wrestling, and other events at the world championships in 2022. Ten wrestlers from India competed in each of the three divisions.
Vinesh Phogat, a three-time Commonwealth Games winner, took home a bronze medal in the women's 53kg division, while Tokyo 2020 silver medalist Ravi Kumar Dahiya was unable to do the same in the men's 57kg division.
At the most recent world championships, which were held following the Tokyo Olympics, India also brought home two medals. Sarita Mor won bronze in the women's 59 kg category, while Anshu Malik took home silver.