Rashidov – Russia
Bajrang Punia 65 kg
Bajrang is the top ranked wrestler in his category and will be seeded number one at the World Championships. That makes him a favourite to win the gold medal. The silver medallist from last year had been in exceptional form and is expected to reach the final. Having an experience of six World Championships and two medals, Punia is expected to be a top contender for the gold medal. It won’t be easy though.
Takuto Otoguro – Japan
Takuto Otoguro of Japan the last edition champion will be the toughest opponent for Bajrang. In the final of World Championship 2018 edition, Otoguro got the better of Bajrang and can pose the biggest challenge for the Indian.
Rashidov – Russia
Rashidov the Russian wrestler through his experience can prove to be tricky opponent for Bajrang. Rashidov has three-time World Championship silver medal to his credit.
Haji Aliev – Azerbajian
Azerbaijan is known for its wrestling prowess and Haji Aliev is the most accomplished wrestler from Azerbaijan. Aliev who has won three World championship titles will pose big challenge for Bajrang Punia.
Vladimir Khinchegashvili of Georgia who won gold medal at Rio Olympics at 57kg and American wrestling’s new wonder boy Zain Retherford are the other two who Bajrang has to overcome to reach his target GOLD at the World wrestling championship 2019.
Given his performance this year, Punia should be able to overcome these challenges. He has won gold medals at two ranking events, Asian Championships, Ali Aliev tournament in Russia and Tbilisi Grand Prix. With a rich experience of wrestling around the world, this should be the real test for him.
One thing that favours Punia is his stamina which is extraordinary. No other wrestler in the world has been able to keep pace with him for the entirety of the bout. We saw that at Asian Championships, Ali Aliev and even at the ranking tournaments. If he can overcome the weak leg defence and lower body, his high pace wrestling style can win India a gold medal, the first after 2010 when Sushil Kumar became the only Indian to win world championships Gold.