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Bajrang Punia Asks for Support as He Becomes 1st Indian to Wrestle at Madison Square Garden

Bajrang Punia took to Twitter to request people in New York to encourage him as he gets set to wrestle at the iconic Madison Square Garden.

News18 Sports

Updated:April 30, 2019, 4:03 PM IST
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Bajrang Punia Asks for Support as He Becomes 1st Indian to Wrestle at Madison Square Garden
Bajrang Punia is currently world No.1 in the 65kg men's freestyle category. (Photo Credit: Twitter)

New Delhi: Bajrang Punia has requested Indians in New York and wrestling love to come to the Madison Square Garden as he is set to become the first Indian to fight at the iconic place.

World No.1 Bajrang, who has been nominated by the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, took to Twitter to make the request seeking encouragement and support.

"I want to request all Indians and wrestling lovers in New York to come to Madison Square Garden on May 6 to encourage me. I am the first Indian to be invited by the American Wrestling Association to fight at Madison Square Garden.

"Jai Hind, Jai Bharat," he wrote on Twitter.

Punia, who won the 65kg men's freestyle gold at the recent Asian Boxing Championships, will be among top wrestlers selected by the American governing body for the May 6 tournament.

The 25-year-old will take on two-time US national champion Yianni Diakomahlis in the "Grapple at the Garden" Beat the Streets event which since 2010 has become a major showcase for international wrestling.

"If you see it from a player's perspective then it is quite an experience fighting at Madison Square Garden. It's great exposure. But there is happiness and there is fear," Bajrang told AFP.

"Happiness because I am the first Indian to be invited there. Fear because of my country's expectations whether I will be able to meet up with it or not," added Bajrang, who hails from Jhajjar district of the north Indian state of Haryana.

Bajrang has eight gold medals from his previous nine international tournaments, including last year's Commonwealth and Asian Games.

Bajrang's mentor Yogeshwar Dutt who won the 60kg bronze at the 2012 London Olympics praised his achievement.

"He has been winning all this time and he will triumph at Madison Square Garden," Dutt told AFP.

"He wins finals everywhere he goes. I just tell him to keep working hard."

American wrestler Kyle Snyder, who won the 97kg title at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and Jordan Burroughs -- 2012 London Olympics gold winner -- are the other top attractions at the event.

(With inputs from AFP)

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