CWG 2018: Bajrang Punia storms to wrestling gold, silver for Pooja Dhanda

India’s gold rush at the 2018 Commonwealth Games has continued with Bajrang Punia delivering a 17th yellow metal in the men’s freestyle 65kg while Pooja Dhanda has won silver in the women’s 57kg freestyle on day nine of competition at Gold Coast, Australia.

Teenaged wrestler Divya Kakran, who claimed medals at the Asian and Commonwealth Wrestling Championships last year, has marked her first appearance at the Commonwealth Games by winning bronze in the women’s 68kg freestyle event. India’s last wrestling medal contest of the day ended up in a silver medal finish after Mausam Khatri lost 2-12 to Martin Erasmus of South Africa in a one-sided contest.

Bajrang, who won a 61kg silver four years ago at the Glasgow Games, turned in an utterly dominating performance against Kane Charig of Wales, whom he defeated 10-0 in just over two minutes. Bajrang had stormed into the final of the men’s freestyle 65kg event with wins over New Zealand’s Brahm Richards, Nigeria’s Amas Daniel and Canada’s Vincent de Marinis. In the showdown with Charig, the 24-year-old wrapped up gold inside the first round.

Bajrang won the highest accolade for Indian wrestling last year, a 65kg freestyle gold medal at the Asian Wrestling Championship in New Delhi, for which he was crowned Wrestler of the Year at the third Mahindra Scorpio Times of India Awards (TOISA) in February. On his way to the summit, Bajrang had beaten the previous Asian Championship gold-medalist Meisam Nassiri 7-5 in the quarter-finals.

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