Ace grappler Bajrang Punia became the only Indian to claim four medals at the World Wrestling Championships by clinching a bronze in the current edition, in Belgrade last week.
Bajrang, who won a bronze in last year’s Tokyo Olympics, eked out a close 11-9 win on points over Sebastian C Rivera of Puerto Rico in one of the the bronze medal bouts.
Bajrang, who lost to John Michael Diakomihalis of USA in the quarterfinals, qualified for the bronze medal contest through repechage round where he defeated Vazgen Tevanyan of Armenia 7-6 by points.
It is Bajrang’s third bronze at the Worlds. The celebrated Indian wrestler had earlier won a bronze at the 2013 edition, silver in 2018 and bronze in 2019.
India had fielded a 30-member team for the ongoing World Championships but produced a below-par performance, securing just two medals. Tokyo Olympics silver-medallist Ravi Kumar Dahiya had crashed out early and failed to secure a podium finish. Besides Bajrang, earlier in the tournament, Vinesh Phogat won her second World Championship bronze medal in the women’s 53kg category.
Vinesh had defeated Emma Malmgren of Sweden 8-0 to claim the bronze.