Deepak Punia etched his name into the history of Indian sports as he became the first Indian Junior World Champion in 18 years on Wednesday as he claimed the gold medal with a win over Russia’s Alik Shebzukhov at Tallinn, Estonia.
He won the final of the 86kg junior freestyle category as the score was tied 2-2 at the end and the Indian was declared champion as he scored the last point.
The last Indians to clinch the yellow metal at Junior World Championship were Ramesh Kumar (69 kg) and Palwinder Singh Cheema (130 kg) who stood atop the podium back in 2001.
“I have given my all, my soul to train so that I could break this record. I know it has been 18 years that no one has won gold at the junior worlds. I was determined to give India gold,” said Punia after his historic win.
Punia had won silver at this event last year and narrowly missed out on a bronze medal at the same event in 2017. He had also won the gold medal at the 2016 Cadet World Championship wherein he comfortably defeated Milan Korcsog of Hungary 10-1 in the opening bout.
Punia will also, represent India at the upcoming World Championship at Kazakhstan, having won the trials