One of India’s most consistent performers in the recent times, Bajrang Punia will go down in the history as the first Indian to feature in the seeds for the UWW World Wrestling Championships. He has been seeded third in his 65 kg weight category 0f the Freestyle event at the UWW World Championship, to be held in Budapest, Hungary, from October 20 to 28.
Bajrang is accorded the pride of place with 45 points in the maiden ranking list released by the United World Wrestling, the parent body of wrestling. The world body has introduced the seeding system for the first time ever, utilizing the pre-championship performance ranking points to determine the competitive seeds.
Turkey’s Selahattin Kilicsallayan is the top seed with 50 points in the 65 kg class weight category while Ilias Bekbulatov from Russia and the Indian grappler share 45 points each and Haji Aliyev from Azerbaijan at the fourth place, one point behind Punia.
This follows the new ranking series that was announced during the 2017 World Championships in Paris. Previously, wrestlers were pulled into the brackets via a random draw of lots.
Bajrang has been training for the last fortnight at the Mátraháza Olympic Training Center in Mátraháza, Hungary. He had reached Hungary before other team members arrived on October 10.
The 2018 Asian Games Gold medalist had won a bronze at the 2013 World Championship and now aims to change the colour of the medal at the elite championship to end the year on a high.
Understandably, Punia felt elated getting picked for seeding but he wants to match his performance according to the position accorded.
“I had come here early to get acclimatized to conditions and am fully focused. I hope I can live up to everybody’s expectations and return home with a gold medal,” said the CWG Gold Coast Medalist, Punia.