Star Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia on Saturday touched a new high in his career by achieving the number one rank in the world in the 65kg category.
Bajrang Punia, who clinched a silver medal in last month’s World Championships at Budapest, is ranked No.1 in the world in his weight category, according to the ranking chart released by the United World Wrestling on Saturday.
Punia, who competes in Freestyle 65 kilogram class, has become the first Indian to be ranked as the top wrestler by the world body which, for the first time, introduced a seeding system in world championships during the Budapest event.
“I am happy about the ranking because it reflects India’s overall growth in wrestling. But the real celebration for me will be when I become the Olympic champion,” Punia said in a statement.
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, leads the chart with 96 points.
Bajrang is comfortably leading the table and Cuban Alejandro Enrique Vlades Tobier is a distant second with 66 points. Bajrang had won a close semifinal against Tobier in the Budapest Worlds.
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 in their respective categories.
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 seventh in 59kg with 29 points while Navjot Kaur (32) and Kiran (37) are ninth in 68kg and 76kg category respectively.
(With agency inputs)