Bajrang Punia won his bout against Kazakhstan's Daulet Niyazbekov to bag the sixth medal for India at Tokyo Olympics, matching the nation's best haul in the games
India wrestler Bajrang Punia defeated Kazakhstan's Daulet Niyazbekov to win the bronze medal in men's freestyle 65kg wrestling at Tokyo Olympics. Punia won the sixth medal for India at the Games this year, and the fourth bronze for the nation.
One of India's top contenders this year at the games this year, Punia won the bronze medal bout against Niyazbekov with a score of 8-0, avenging his defeat against the Kazakh in 2019 World Wrestling Championships semi-finals.
Punia kept to measured approach in the first period of the match, scoring the first point on a passivity penalty against Niyazbekov. The Kazakh tried to bridge the deficit and even had Punia on the backfoot for a while, but couldn't get through the Indian's defence. Towards the end of the period, Punia pushed Niyazbekov out of bounds to score his second point.
The Indian wrestler looked assertive in the second period, scoring a two-point takedown halfway through the round. He scored two more two-pointers to end the match at 8-0.
After Punia's victory, father Balwan Punia exclaimed that this bronze medal victory is akin to a gold medal for him. "He fulfilled my dream. This is gold medal for me. He told me that he will not come back empty handed," the Indian wrestler's father said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Punia on his victory in a tweet: "Delightful news from #Tokyo2020! Spectacularly fought Bajrang Punia. Congratulations to you for your accomplishment, which makes every Indian proud and happy."
Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur also shared his best wishes Punia's podium finish. "BRONZE for BAJRANG!!! YOU DID IT! India is thrilled beyond words! I am so proud of you, loved watching your dominating performance and spectacular finish! (sic)"
Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju tweeted, "India strikes 6th Olympic medal at #Tokyo2020! Congratulations to our star wrestler Bajrang Punia bhai on winning Olympic Bronze Medal! We are so proud of you!"
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wished the wrestler on winning bronze medal in Olympics. "Heartiest Congratulations to Wrestler Bajrang Punia on winning the bronze medal at #Olympics2020! Your grit, passion and vigour are truly inspiring. Such a spectacular achievement - you have made India proud!"
Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar also extended his congratulations to Punia. "Sheer class & domination on display by Bajrang Punia in wrestling to win bronze medal for India! Congratulations on this much deserved victory & leaving us all stunned with your performance."
On Punia's medal win, Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar said that as per state policy, Haryana government will give ₹2.5 crore, a government job and a plot of land at 50 per cent concession to wrestler Bajrang Punia for winning bronze medal at Tokyo 2020. An indoor stadium will be constructed in his native village Khudan in Jhajjar, Khattar added.
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