Deepak Punia is an Indian freestyle wrestler and Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) in the Indian Army. He won the gold medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmigham. He beat Pakistan’s Muhammad Inam in the 86kg final match.
The wrestler began his tournament journey on a strong note, defeating New Zealand’s Matthew Oxenham in his first match. Deepak won a one-sided battle by a score of 10-0 to go to the quarterfinals. After that, there was no stopping him, as he repeated the performance in the quarterfinals against Sierra Leone’s Sheku Kassegbama.
Deepak’s semifinal match turned out to be a difficult one, as he lost 3-1 to Canada’s Alexander Moore. The 23-year-old Indian wrestler appeared defensive in his approach, but he was able to set up the championship match versus Inam.
Deepak practiced with Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Bajrang Punia at Michigan University in the United States prior to the 2022 CWG.
The Union Sports Ministry’s Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) provided financial help to the two athletes for training, transport, daily costs, and boarding at Michigan University.
He earned a silver medal in the freestyle 86 kg division at the 2019 World Wrestling Championships and qualified for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
He was born in the Haryana district of Jhajjar. He lost the bronze medal match narrowly in Tokyo Olympic 2020 to M.N. Amine of San Marino. Punia had a left-hand injury at the Poland Open, forcing him to withdraw from the competition to prevent exacerbating his ailment before the Tokyo Olympics.
Deepak settled for silver at the Wrestling World Championships after withdrawing out of the 86 kg final due to injury, when he was supposed to fight Hassan Yazdani of Iran.