New high for Ba­jrang, achieves world No 1 rank­ing

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - HTSPORTSMAX - Press Trust of In­dia sports­desk@hin­dus­tan­times.com

NEW DELHI: Star In­dian wrestler Ba­jrang Pu­nia on Satur­day touched a new high in his ca­reer by achiev­ing the num­ber one rank in the world in the 65kg cat­e­gory.

The 24-year-old Ba­jrang, who has won five medals this sea­son, in­clud­ing CWG and Asian Games gold and a sil­ver at the World Cham­pi­onship, was placed atop the rank­ing ta­ble with 96 points in the UWW list.

It has been a remarkable sea­son for Ba­jrang, who was also the only In­dian grap­pler to be given a seed­ing at the Bu­dapest World Cham­pi­onship.

“Every ath­lete nur­tures the dream to be world num­ber one in his ca­reer. But If I had be­come num­ber one with a World Cham­pi­onship gold, it would have been bet­ter,” Ba­jrang said.

“But I am work­ing hard and will try to re­tain this world num­ber rank with a World Cham­pi­onship gold next year,” he added.

Ba­jrang is com­fort­ably lead­ing the ta­ble and Cuban Ale­jan­dro En­rique Vlades To­bier is a dis­tant sec­ond with 66 points. Ba­jrang had won a close semi­fi­nal against To­bier in the Bu­dapest Worlds.

Rus­sia’s Akhmed Chakaev (62) is in third place and the new world cham­pion Takuto Otoguro (56) is at num­ber four, fol­lowed by Turkey’s Se­la­hat­tin Kil­ic­sal­layan (50).

In­ter­est­ingly, Ba­jrang is the lone male In­dian to fig­ure in top-10 but the coun­try has five fe­male wrestlers who are in top-10 bracket in their re­spec­tive cat­e­gories.

Pooja Dhanda, who won bronze at World Cham­pi­onships , is ranked sixth in the 57kg with 52 points. She had taken a bronze. Ritu Phogat com­pletes the top-10 in the women’s 50kg, with 33 points.

PTI

Ba­jrang Pu­nia.

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