Bajrang first Indian to win Ali Aliev title, cements his spot on top of World Rankings

Harpal Singh Bedi

Bajrang Punia

New Delhi: Display tremendous fight back spirit ace grappler Bajrang Punia overpowered Russia’s Viktor Rassadin 13-8 in the 65 kg category to become the first Indian to win the Ali Aliev International Wrestling Tournament in Kapiisk, Russia, his second major Championship victory in as many weeks.

After winning the Asian Championships in Xi’an, China last week, Bajrang showcased his trademark second period resilience as he came through stiff resistance from a host of local favourites over two days, to prove his credentials as the world’s best wrestler in his category.

With the wins, Bajrang has cemented his place on top of the World Rankings this year and is currently the highest ranked freestyle Asian wrestler in the world.

“I think the fact that I’m competing in 3 different continents in 3 weeks is itself an incredible feat and I’m thankful for all the support I’ve received through this period. I did have the belief that I could do well in these competitions and am pleased with my performances so far.

” I am now looking forward to participating at Madison Square Garden and will continue to do my best to live up to the nation’s expectations in the tournaments to come,” Bajrang said after this win.

He was accompanied by personal coach Shako Bentinidis and physiotherapist Manish Chhetri.

Bajrang, who is part of the JSW Sports Excellence Program, will now get on the road once again as he heads to New York for the Beat the Streets ‘Grapple at the Garden’ benefit on May 6 at the historic Madison Square Garden arena.

Bajrang has been invited for the charity event where he will take on former cadet world champion and two-time NCAA champion Yianni Diakomihalis.

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