04 March, 2021

Bajrang Punia: A Virtual Pocket Dynamite

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.

Photograph by PTI
Bajrang Punia: A Virtual Pocket Dynamite

When it comes to sports, India is fortunate that its athletes find a way to overcome the impediments that its officialdom throws in their paths—whole areas fra­ught with politics and unprofession­alism. If India is winning medals at the Asian Games, it has been possible in spite of official bungling, due to athletes’ own talent, resilience and steely determination. The government does provide facilities and exposure, but it’s a mite compared to the odds athletes face.

Many of the stories of the Games medal winners so far, and those who may or may not win, are tales of victories carved through adversity.

Bajrang Punia

Financial compulsions forced his father, a decent wre­stler, to give up the sport and turn to farming in a bid to sustain his family. But Balwan Singh Punia still cherished a dream and decided to live it through his you­n­gest son. Bajrang lived up to his expectations and won gold medal in 65kg freestyle at the 2018 Com­m­on­wealth Games. Then, on August 19, he emulated...

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