The United World Wrestling (UWW) on Saturday declared Bajrang Punia as the world number one freestyle wrestler in the 65 kg weight category. Bajrang Punia, who clinched the silver medal in the World Championships in Budapest last month rose to the top spot after gaining a massive 30-point lead over Alejandro Enrique Valdes Tobier of Cuba. Russia's Akhmed Chakaev is now placed at the third position with 62 points. "I am happy about the ranking because it reflects India's overall growth in wrestling. But the real celebration for me will be when I become the Olympic champion," said the 24-year-old after claiming the top spot.
The Indian wrestling sensation had an impressive year with one gold and one silver at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and UWW World Championship respectively.
Punia's current ranking is based on his international performance throughout the year which included the gold medals at Gold Coast and Jakarta in 2018.
Meanwhile, eight other Indian wrestlers have made it to the top 20 list of their respective weight categories for the UWW rankings.
In men's freestyle, Sandeep Tomar is ranked at the 14th place in the 57 kg category, Sonba Tanaji Gongane at 12th in 61 kg category, Sharvan at 20th in 61 kg, Deepak Punia at 13th in 86 kg and Sumit at 13th in 125 kg.
On the other hand, in women's wrestling, Ritu Phogat is ranked at 10th place in 50 kg, Vinesh Phogat at 17th in 50 kg, Pooja Dhanda at 6th in 57 kg, Sarita at 7th in 59 kg, Sangeeta Phogat at 18th in 59 kg, Ritu Malik at 11th in 65 kg, Navjot Kaur at 18th and 9th in 65 kg and 68 kg respectively and Kiran at 9th in 76 kg in the UWW rankings list.
(With ANI Inputs)