Ace India wrestler Deepak Punia bagged a gold medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games after beating Pakistan’s Muhammad Inam in the 86kg final bout. After missing the medal at Tokyo Olympics, everyone was expecting big from Deepak in Birmingham and he didn’t disappoint anyone with his dominant show.
The young wrestler started his campaign on a high as he outclassed New Zealand’s Matthew Oxenham in his opening bout. It was a one-sided fight where Deepak clinched a 10-0 victory to reach the quarterfinals. There was no stopping for him after that as he replicated the same show in the quarterfinals against Sheku Kassegbama of Sierra Leone.
However, the semifinal bout turned out to be a tricky one for Deepak as he fought hard against Canada’s Alexander Moore 3-1. The 23-year-old Indian wrestler looked a bit defensive with his approach but managed to set up the summit clash against Inam.
The 23-year-old, who hails from Jhajjar, entered the tournament with a big reputation after his impressive performances at the Asian Championships for four successive years. He also won the World Championships silver medalist at the Nur Sulthan event.
Punia missed out on an Olympic medal last year by a whisker after he suffered defeat in the bronze-medal bout at Tokyo which ended his campaign on a disappointing note.
Before the 2022 CWG, Deepak trained with Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist Bajrang Punia at the Michigan University in the United States.
The Union Sports Ministry’s Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) provided financial assistance for the two athletes to carry out their training, travel, daily costs and boarding for the camp at Michigan University.