National wrestling c’ship: Bajrang Punia dazzles

Bajrang Punia (Blue) of Railways won the Gold in 65 kg catagery, by beating Rajneesh (Red) of Services.   -  Sushil Kumar Verma

Bajrang Punia idolises Yogeshwar Dutt for the latter’s discipline and aggression on the mat. He displayed his growing reputation at the KD Jadhav Indoor Stadium with a resounding 10-0 win over Rajneesh in the men’s 65 kg final of the National Wrestling Championship in a performance that should gladden his mentor.

“It was just the way we had planned,” said an elated Bajrang at the end of the bout, which was the first title to be decided on the opening day of the championship. Among the spectators for the event was the chief guest and Union Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu.

“Nationals can be a taxing affair because we have to fight back to back bouts. There is no rest and all bouts are tough too. I was prepared and remembered Yogi’s (Yogeshwar) words to deny the opponent any point. I concentrated on my technical excellence and am glad I could fight to my mentor’s expectations. It always helps when you win a title and this would help me grow as a competitor,” said Bajrang.

In a much-awaited final of the women’s category, Ritu Phogat put it across in a one-sided affair. “Not surprised,” said Ritu’s sister Geeta on the easy victory. “I was confident and was looking to maintain my form. It was an important win for me because a National title is always special,” remarked Ritu. It was her maiden title in the seniors section.