Bajrang clinches gold in Bulgaria

Bajrang Punia. PTI File Photo

India's star wrestler Bajrang Punia has won the gold medal at the Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov tournament in Ruse, Bulgaria and dedicated the victory to Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.

Punia, a World Championship silver medallist, overpowered Jordan Oliver of USA 12-3 in the 65kg freestyle final to begin the season on a resounding note. The Indian also secured the maximum ranking points from the tournament.

"I want to dedicate my gold to Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. He has inspired me. I want to meet him one day and also shake hands with him," Punia tweeted after his victory.

The IAF pilot Varthaman returned to India from captivity in Pakistan on Friday night after a suspenseful wait lasting hours.

Punia, who bagged the top prize at the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games last year, has won four gold medals and one silver in the last five tournaments.

This was Punia's 10th medal in as many international tournaments since failing to finish at the podium in the 2017 World Championships in Paris.

Silver for Vinesh 

Vinesh Phogat lost in the 53kg final to settle for silver. She went down to China's Qianyu Pang. Vinesh beat World Championships silver medallist Sarah Hildebrandt in the semifinals on Saturday. This is Vinesh's first tournament since moving to 53kg from 50kg.

In the men's freestyle events, Sandeep Tomar had to be content with a silver in 61kg.

Sarita Mor won a silver in women's 59kg though she lost to her compatriot Dhanda. 

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Bajrang clinches gold in Bulgaria

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