Wrestler Bajrang Punia, before leaving for the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, had promised his guru and Olympic medallist Yogeshwar Dutt of a gold medal and the 24-year-old from Jhajjar village in Haryana fulfilled that promise in style. Punia clinched the gold medal in the men's freestyle 65kg category after defeating Japan's Daichi Takatani 11-8 in the final at Jakarta Convention Center.
"I promised my guru Yogeshwar Dutt that I will win a gold medal at Asian Games and I am happy I fulfilled my promise. He won gold in the previous edition (Incheon) and I am really glad to do what he did in 2014. He has played a big role in my career," Punia told NDTV.com in an exclusive interview.
It was Punia's second successive medal at the Asian Games. He had won a silver medal at the 2014 edition in Incheon. He had won three consecutive gold medals - Commonwealth Games 2018 in Gold Coast, Tbilisi Grand Prix in Georgia and Yasar Dogu International in Istanbul -- ahead of the Asian Games. He also won bronze medal at Asian Championship in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan earlier this year.
Apart from Punia, there were a lot of expectations from two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar. The wrestling star suffered a shock first-round defeat to Adam Batirov of Bahrain.
"Sushil Kumar is a legend. Whenever he hit the mat, India expects a gold from him. Not just me, we all wrestlers were unhappy to see him crash out early. He has achieved a lot in his career and has nothing to prove anyone," Punia said.
After a spectacular show at the Asian Games, Punia wants to win a medal at World Championship.
"For me my first target is World Championship. I want to finish on podium at World Championship. After that, Olympics will be in my mind. I want to take one step at a time," he said.
The youngster is also positive about his chances at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
"If I will continue perform like this, I am sure I can bring an Olympic medal for my country," a confident Punia said.
"I want to see my name alongside Yogeshwar bhai," he added.
Punia was seven when he took up to wrestling and was inspired by his father Balwan Singh Punia.
"My father pushed me into wrestling. Now, I owe everything to Yogeshwar who has helped me become a good wrestler," he signed off.