Sushil Kumar vs Bajrang Punia: Who is India’s greatest wrestler ever? Well, it’s a tough choice to make. Although, Bajrang Punia himself considers Sushil Kumar as the best player in the country in wrestling. But Punia proved himself too on world stages. Who is the best among the two of them? Let’s discuss this in detail.
Sushil Kumar vs Bajrang Punia
Sushil Kumar records:
- Indian wrestler Sushil Kumar’s first breakthrough in freestyle wrestling came in 1998, when he won a gold medal in his weight category at the World Cadet Games.
- He also won the gold medal in the Asian Junior Wrestling Championship held in 2000.
- In 2003, Sushil got the Bronze Medal in the Asian Wrestling Championship and the Gold Medal in the Commonwealth Wrestling Championships. He finished fourth in the World Championships held in the same year.
- In 2005 and 2007, Sushil again raised the name of his country India in the world and won the gold medal in the Commonwealth Wrestling Championships held in both these years. He was ranked 7th for the 2007 Commonwealth Wrestling Championships.
- On August 20, 2008, Sushil won the bronze medal by defeating Leonid Spiridonov 3:1 at the 2008 Olympic Games held in Beijing.
- In the 2010 World Wrestling Championships held in Moscow, Sushil became the first Indian to win a world title in wrestling. In the Commonwealth Games held in Delhi in the same year, on October 10, Sushil defeated Heinrich Barnes 7: 0 in the 66 Kg freestyle wrestling category and won the gold medal.
- In the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sushil won the silver medal. By winning it, he became the first Indian to win 2 independent Olympic medals for India. In the 2012 London Olympics, Sushil was the Olympic Flag Bearer for India in the Opening Ceremony.
- In the 2014 Commonwealth Games held in Glasglow, Scotland, Sushil won the gold medal by defeating Qamar Abbas in the 74 Kg final.
Bajrang Punia records:
- Bajrang Punia’s first major tournament was the 2013 Asian Wrestling Championships in New Delhi. He settled for bronze at the tournament after losing to North Korea’s Hwang Ryong-hak in the men’s freestyle 60-kg category. In the World Wrestling Championship 2013, Punia won a bronze medal in the 60-kg category.
- In 2014, Punia upgraded the color of his medal to silver at the Commonwealth Games in the men’s 61-kg category. He repeated the performance in the 2014 Asian Games. Again, in 2014, Punia settled for a silver medal at the Asian Wrestling Championships.
- He tasted his first gold medal, finally, after two years at the 2017 Asian Wrestling Championship held in Delhi. He won another gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2018 in the men’s freestyle 65-kg category. He scored his 3rd gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games. He became world number 1 in the 65-kg category after clinching a silver medal at the 2018 World Wrestling Championship.
- A bronze medal at the 2019 World Championship earned him a ticket to the 2020 Summer Olympics.
- Punia has won the bronze medal in the World Wrestling Championships 2022. This was India’s second medal at the World Wrestling Championships. Earlier he had won gold at the Birmingham Commonwealth games in the same year.
So, we can say both are fantastic wrestlers in their own arena. Sushil Kumar gave new life to the sport fighting for identity by ending the 56-year wait for a medal in the Olympic Games. On the other hand, Bajrang Punia is the only Indian wrestler to win four medals in the global event. Moreover, Punia is one Olympic medal behind to break Sushil Kumar’s record.