Both Bajrang Punia and Ravi Dahiya are now strong candidates for medals at the World Wrestling Championships. In the semi-finals, Bajrang will be up against Daulet Niyazbekov of Kazakhstan while Ravi faces reigning world champion Zavur Uguev of Russia
World number one Bajrang Punia, who is in Russia for training ahead of the World Wrestling Championships, had bagged a silver in the last edition and a bronze in 2013 in 60kg. Two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar remains India's only gold medallist at the Worlds
Selection Committee for Sports Awards 2019 nominated names of Bajrang Punia (wrestling) and Deepa Malik (para-athletics) for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and 19 payers including cricketer Ravindra Jadeja and athlete Mohammed Anas Yahiya for the Arjuna Award
Deepa Malik, who won a silver in the shot put F53 category in the 2016 Rio Paralympics, was added for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award by a 12-member selection committee on the second day of the two-day meeting.
Harphul Singh, the reigning national champion, took on the world number one but he could not compete with Bajrang Punia for two full rounds. Harphul suffered a knee injury when the Asian Games gold-medallist got hold of his right leg in the second three-minute period, qualifying for India's World Championship Wrestling Squad.
India won a whopping 227 international medals in July but how many of those will translate into an Olympic gold, silver or bronze in Tokyo 2020? The sports ministry feels India's best chance will be in Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 Olympics
Bajrang Punia's success graph has been shooting up since 2014, when he won three silver medals, all in the 61kg category, at the Incheon Asian Games, the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the Senior Asian Wrestling Championships in Astana.