Wrestler Bajrang Punia becomes first Indian to be ranked No1 in the world

New Delhi: Star Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia has become the first Indian to be ranked No1 in the world in his 65kg weight category, according to the ranking chart released by the United World Wrestling on Saturday.

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. Bajrang was also the only Indian grappler to be given a seeding at the Budapest World Championship.

‘Every athlete’s dream’

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

Lone Indian in top 10

Bajrang is comfortably leading the table and Cuban Alejandro Enrique Vlades Tobier is a distant second with 66 points. 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.
Meanwhile, eight other Indian wrestlers have made it to the top 20 list of their respective weight categories for the UWW rankings. In men’s freestyle, Sandeep Tomar is ranked at the 14th place in the 57 kg category, Sonba Tanaji Gongane at 12th in the 61 kg category.

Gains for Pooja Dhanda and Ritu Phogat as well

Pooja Dhanda, who became only the fourth Indian woman to win a World Championship medal, is now ranked sixth in the women’s 57kg with 52 points.
She had taken a bronze. Ritu Phogat completes the top-10 in the women’s 50kg, with 33 points.
Sarita Mor is ranked 7th in 59kg with 29 points while Navjot Kaur (32) and Kiran (37) are 9th in 68kg and 76kg category respectively.

(With inputs from Agencies)