On August 5, 2021, Deepak Punia suffered a heartbreak when the wrestler from Haryana misplaced the bronze medal bout towards San Marino’s Myles Nazem Amine within the 86 kg class at Tokyo Olympics. It was a medal that Punia desperately wished to win — for his nation and for his mom whose dream it was to see her son on podium on the Olympics and who had died an yr in the past.
An yr later to the date, the 23-year-old paid tributes to his mom as he completed on high of the rostrum at ongoing Commonweath Games in Birmingham bagging the gold medal with a win over Pakistan’s Muhammad Inam. There have been no large strikes however Punia, with higher stamina, outlasted Inam 3-0, profitable his first level from a push out, second on passivity of the Pakistani earlier than finishing the win with one other push out level.
Back dwelling at village Chhara in Haryana’s Jhajjar, father Subash Punia, who gave up his dairy enterprise to assist his son develop as a wrestler. “We will celebrate till he returns home with the medal,” stated Subash. “My wife wanted to see Deepak win an Olympic medal. When the national camp was closed following lockdown in 2020, Deepak spent 18 days with his ailing mother at our village. She lost her life on April 9, 2020. After losing the Olympic bout, he was dejected. But we made sure that he was given a warm welcome when he returned. Win and loss and part of sport and that’s what we wanted him to understand”.
Growing up within the village, Deepak would hearken to the tales about his father, uncles and cousins preventing in native dangals. Cousin Sunil Kumar, well-known as Sunil Chotiwala for sporting a ponytail, was a nationwide champion. “Deepak would often play with Sunil’s trophies and medals. When he was five, I got him enrolled at the Arya Virendra Akhada in our village, His day would start at 5 am and he would spend most of his day at the akhada like other resident trainees before returning home in the evening. He would take home-made lassi and ghee with him to the akhada,” reminisced Subash.
It was additionally the time, when Subash would carry milk on his motorbike to Delhi to promote within the societies. While Deepak would compete within the native dangals, it meant that Subash needed to depart the dairy enterprise in 2011 and commit full time to travelling together with his son and getting ready his weight-reduction plan. “I regularly took loans from my friends and relatives to support his training and would repay when Deepak would win dangals or titles and get cash rewards,” recalled Subash. In 2014, Deepak enrolled on the Chhatrasal Stadium in Delhi beneath coach Virender Kumar. Within two years, Deepak received his first worldwide medal, a gold, on the World Cadet Championship-2016 in Georgia. In 2018, Deepak bagged a silver on the World Junior Wrestling Championship in Slovakia earlier than ending India’s 18-year-wait for a world junior champion with the title win within the 86-Kg class within the World Junior Wrestling Championship at Estonia.
Virender Kumar remembers that in preliminary days of coaching, Deepak would usually slip or catch maintain the opponent’s clothes, like its finished in mud wrestling. “We started training him in the basics of mat wrestling. He took no time in mastering the moves. His feet movement was swift. Scoring points with Kehri Patt or Dohri Patt has become his strong point,” says the 50-year-old, who now runs his personal akhada close to Singhu border.
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Virender Kumar stated Deepak loves to observe the bouts of two-time Olympic and three-time world champion Hassan Yazdini — he had misplaced to the Iranian in Asian championship — other than spending time chanting Hanuman Chalisa.
At his dwelling, sisters Manisha Sangwan and Pinki have been managing issues and know that when Deepak returns with medal, he’ll ask for the dishes that their mom used to prepare dinner. “Deepak was very close to our mother. Sometimes, he would get late and our mother would make choorma and aloo paranthas for him. When he returns, we will welcome him with choorma,” stated Manisha.