Deepak Punia is a freestyle Indian Wrestler. The youngster has been in his best form in recent years. Not only did he win a silver at the Junior World Championship in 2018, but also became the first Indian in 18 years to win a gold medal at the Junior World Wrestling Championship in 2019.
Though he was battling with a shoulder injury that he picked up in the semi-final, the 20-year-old fought like a champion to beat Russian, Alib Shekzukov. The very next month after the World Junior Wrestling Championship, Punia won a silver medal in the 86kg category men’s freestyle at the Senior World Wrestling Championships. This helped him book a berth at the Tokyo Olympics.
His performances were even recognized outside India as the United World Wrestling naming him their junior wrestler of the year for 2019. However, he has faced many challenges and would not be able to come out of them without the help of his family and support from Sushil Kumar.
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India’s 🇮🇳 Deepak PUNIA has been named United World Wrestling’s Junior Freestyle Wrestler of the Year. Punia ended an 18 year drought and became the first Indian wrestler to win a junior world title since 2001. — #freestyle #uww #unitedworldwrestling
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Punia came from a humble family background hailing from a small district in Haryana. He grew up watching wrestling in his village. Moreover, his father and grandfather were involved with wrestling when they were young. Therefore, it is no surprise that Punia started training from the age of four.
He used to travel with his elder cousin, Sunil Kumar to neighboring villages and fighting on earthen pits. The fights soon became a source of revenue for Punia. However, Sunil felt that this could limit Punia’s talent and this led him to join the Chhatrasal Stadium in 2015.
The Chhatrasal stadium is the same venue that gave India its two Olympic medallists- Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt. The youngster thrived in the professional surrounding and was under the tutelage of experienced coaches and two-time Olympic medal winner Sushil Kumar.
When Deepak Punia was offered a prestigious post of sepoy in the Indian army, Sushil Kumar noticed his talent and urged him to focus on wrestling. Deepak Punia listened to the legend and this led him to win a gold at the Cadet world championship in 2016.
Following his mentor, Sushil Kumar, the only thing that is under Deepak Punia’s focus, is to win a medal at the Olympics. He is one of India’s biggest hopes for the Olympics in the Wrestling category.
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