Milkman’s son Deepak Punia is world wrestling cadet champion

Haryana wrestler Deepak Punia beat Turkey’s Nail Seyyar 9-5 in the gold medal match and became the world champion in the 85kg category.

Last month, when Deepak Punia returned empty-handed from the junior world championships in France, his father didn’t give him his favourite drink — cow’s milk.

An upset Punia promised his father that he will not return empty-handed from the cadet world championships that was to take place in Tbilisi in the second week of September. “I wanted cow’s milk. I love cow’s milk because it gives me the strength to wrestle. I told my father that I won’t return empty handed and he has to give me the milk,” Punia says.

When Deepak returns to India on Monday, he will have the milk he asked for as he is not returning empty handed. The Haryana wrestler won gold medal in the 85kg category and became only the third cadet world champion from India after the tournament was restarted in 2011.

The 17-year-old defeated wrestlers from Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, USA and Turkey to be ultimately crowned as the world champion. It is the first time that an Indian has won a world title in the heavyweight category at this level. “I just wanted to focus on the final bout. When I won against USA in semis, I knew I can do it,” he says. Punia and Jacob Warner of USA were tied 4-4 in the semi-final bout but the Indian prevailed on the basis of criteria and thus assured India a medal.

“I used to sell milk but have stopped for last one year because my son went to Delhi to train and I needed to take care of my fields. But I still make sure he gets the cow’s milk. He has won a lot. I don’t understand everything but he shows me the medal and I say sabash. He has brought many this year,” his father Subhash says.

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