Wrestler Deepak Punia extended his fairytale run at the Wrestling World Championship to guarantee his berth at Tokyo 2020 Olympics and also stormed into the finals of the 86kg category in Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan. The 20-year-old becomes the 17th Indian to secure an Olympics quota as well as the fourth Indian to bag a berth at the Tokyo Games from the ongoing championships after Bajrang Punia, Ravi Kumar Dahiya and Vinesh Phogat.
Deepak Punia edged out Stephen Reichmuth of Switzerland in the semis to book his place in the finals. The first period of the bout saw a gritty defensive battle as Deepak displayed great technique against the Swiss to take the first point of the match. Deepak then capitalized on the lead to exert his dominion taking a 4-0 lead. From then it was a one-sided affair as Punia extended his lead and wrapped up the match at 8-2.
In his first round clash, the Indian beat the odds to outclass local favourite Adilet Davlumbayev in a close 8-6 win. The youngster gave an exemplary display of his strong nerves to hold on to the lead and see the bout over the finishing line.
Deepak then continued his momentum in his second-round match. Looking confident afters previous win, the young grappler was absolutely unstoppable. Taking on Tajikistan's Bakhodur Kodirov, he turned the contest into a one-sided affair securing a clean 6-0 win.
With an Olympic quota at stake, Deepak took the mat for his quarter finals bout against Izquierdo Me.C of Colombia. Deepak started out strong but soon his opponent established a lead. With the clock running out, the Indian scripted a heroic comeback to overturn the deficit and register a 7-6 win.
Earlier in August, the 20-year-old scripted history by becoming India's first junior wrestling world champion in 18 years. Punia, who also won a gold at 2016 Cadet World Championship, defeated Russia's Alik Shebzukhov to take home the coveted medal.