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Punia, Vinesh take back top spot after winning in Rome
New Delhi, March 8 - India's Bajrang Punia got back to the No. 1 spot in the 65 kg wrestling world rankings after winning gold at the Matteo Pelicone Ranking Series in Rome. Earlier, Vinesh Phogat took back the top spot in the 53 kg rankings after winning gold in her weight category at the ranking series.
Both wrestlers, who have qualified for this year's Tokyo Olympics, had slipped off the top of the rankings during the lengthy breaks they had to take in 2020 on account of the Covid-19 pandemic.
While Punia came into the tournament ranked second, Vinesh was third. Punia, 27, defended his title in Rome on Sunday after beating Mongolia's Tulga Tumur Ochir 2-2. He was trailing 2-0 for much of the bout but managed to take two points in the last 30 seconds. Since Punia was the last to score a point, he was declared winner on criteria.
Vinesh, meanwhile, won gold without dropping a single point throughout the tournament, beating Canada's Diana Weicker 4-0 in the final. This is the 26-year-old Asian Games champion's second gold medal in two weeks, having earlier won the 53 kg title in the Outstanding Ukrainian Wrestlers and Coaches Memorial tournament in Kiev, Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Sumit Malik won bronze in the 125 kg category and jumped to fourth in the rankings. He gained nine points after coming into the tournament ranked 44. Naveen Mor rose to fourth in the Greco-Roman 130 kg category after winning bronze in Rome.
Sarita Mor rose to 2nd in the women's 57 kg rankings after winning silver while Anshu Malik got up to fifth from eighth in the same weight class.
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