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Tokyo Olympics player profile — Wrestler Deepak Punia

Haryana's wrestler Deepak Punia has been one of the most promising sportspersons to have come through the ranks in the past few years

Tokyo Olympics player profile — Wrestler Deepak Punia

C.C. Chengappa

Updated: 21 July 2021 10:15 AM GMT

Another one of the many wrestlers to come from the Indian wrestling stronghold, Haryana's Deepak Punia has been one of the most promising sportspersons to have come through the ranks in the past few years. He is an ace wrestler, trained and hardened in his village and subsequently has faced much success in national and international forums. We take a look at the youngsters profile and attributes that make him one to watch out for in the years to come.

What is his Background?
He was born in the village of Chhara in the Jhajjar District of Haryana on 19th May 1999.

How was he introduced to wrestling?

His father and grandfather were professional wrestlers who would compete at local tournaments (dangals) and he was subsequently introduced to the sport at the age of 4. He travelled with his cousin to local tournaments and began competing in them himself.

Who was Deepak Punia's mentor?

Deepak Punia credits famed Indian wrestler, Sushil Kumar as a constant source of support and guidance. After joining the Chhatrasal Academy in Delhi, Sushil Kumar helped the young Punia with his training and other necessities such as sponsorship and life guidance. He even told him to reject joining the Army and instead focus on only wrestling.

What are his strengths?

His main attribute apart from his phenomenal strength is his defence. In particular, his standing defence has been one of his highlights wherein he gets his hands the opponents arms and is able to manoeuvre his way to put them down on the mat. His former coach Vladimir Mestvirishvilli said that Deepak Punia has the necessary attributes of flexibility, power, luck, and intelligence to be the assertive force during an event.

What are his achievements?

Many cannot believe the fact that he is only 21 years of age. Apart from qualifying for the Olympics this year, he has been named the UWW World Junior Freestyle Wrestler of the Year. He ended an 18-year medal gap for India in the Junior Wrestling circuit by bringing home the gold in the World Junior Championships. (86kg category). Even in the Senior World Championships, he cruised through to the finals and secured an Olympic quota place along with a silver medal for himself.

Deepak Punia

What is his medal haul till date?

He has won a gold and a silver medal at the World Junior Championships, a silver at the World Wrestling Championships in 2019, two bronze medals at the Asian Games and a Gold at the World Cadet Championships.

What can we expect?

Given his record in the past 2-3 years, he is highly rated in the world wrestling circuit and is expected to secure a podium finish at this years Olympics. He is the future of Indian wrestling and for a man who fought through a shoulder injury to secure a gold in the Junior Championships final, one can expect him to go a long way in the future given his physical and mental attributes.

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