Deepak Punia is an Indian freestyle wrestler. He came into the limelight in 2019 when he won a silver medal at the World Wrestling Championships held in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, and upon winning this event, he got qualified for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Deepak Punia was born on Wednesday, 19 May 1999 (age 23 years; as of 2022) in Chhara, Jhajjar, Haryana. His zodiac sign is Taurus. Deepak received his initial wrestling training at his home as his father and grandfather worked as professional wrestlers. They used to compete in the local tournaments (dangal). According to his family, he started showing interest in wrestling at the age of four. Gradually, he began participating in local dangals to earn money. Later, he joined Chhatrasal Stadium to get professional training in wrestling sport.
Height (approx.): 5′ 8″
Weight (approx.): 85 kg
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
His father’s name is Subhash Punia, and he is a milkman.
Father of Deepak Punia
His mother’s name is Krishna Punia, and she was a homemaker.
Deepak Punia with his mother
He has a sister named Neeru Dhanda who is a part of the Indian Shooting Team.
Deepak Punia began professional training in wrestling in 2015 under the guidance of his coaches, Virender Kumar and Satpal Singh.
Deepak Punia with his coach Virender Kumar
During the same time, two-time Olympic medal winner Sushil Kumar also started him instructing professional wrestling strategies. In 2016, he clinched a gold medal at the 2016 Cadet World Championships, which were held in Tbilisi, Georgia. In 2018, he was the winner of a gold medal in the 86 kg category at the Asian Junior Athletics. In the same year, he participated in the Junior World Wrestling Championships and clinched a silver medal for India.
Deepak Punia after winning the gold medal and belt at the Asian Wrestling Championships
In the following year, he was a part of the Junior World Wrestling Championships in which he won a gold medal in the 86 kg weight category. In the same year, he clinched a silver medal at the World Wrestling Championships, which were organised at Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan paving his way to participate in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. In 2021, Deepak clinched a silver medal at the Asian Championships, which were held in Almaty, Kazakhstan. In the same year, Deepak Punia suffered a hand injury during the Poland Open championships following which he decided not to participate in the competitions to avoid any other injury. In these championships, he was supposed to face Zahid Valencia, an American wrestler in the quarterfinals.
The Government of India appointed Deepak Punia as a Naik Subedar in the Indian Army in 2018.
2016: Cadet World Championship (Tbilisi) in the 85 kg category
2018: Asian Junior Athletics Championship (New Delhi) in the 86 kg category
2019: Junior World Wrestling Championships (Tallinn) in the 86 category
2018: Junior World Wrestling Championships (Trnava) in the 86 kg category
2019: World Wrestling Championships (Nur-Sultan) in the 86 kg category
2021: Asian Wrestling Championships (Almaty) in the 86 kg category
2019: Asian Wrestling Championships (Xi’an) in the 86 kg category
2020: Asian Wrestling Championships (New Delhi) in the 86 kg category
- In a conversation with a media house, Deepak Punia revealed that Sushil Kumar and Bajrang Punia were his favourite Indian wrestlers.
- According to Deepak Punia, the Indian wrestler Hassan Yazdani is his idol. Hassan is the 2016 Olympic champion and two-time World Champion. Once, Deepak and Hassan faced each other at the finals of the Asian Championships in which Hassan was declared the winner of the match whereas Deepak lost the match because of technical subordination. After Deepak lost the match, in a conversation with a media house, the coach of Deepak Punia, Virender said that it was normal to get confused in front of that person who you had idolised growing up. Virender said,
It’s natural to be flummoxed when you have to fight with the wrestler you have idolised growing up. But that hesitancy is a thing of the past. He discussed that Asian final bout with me and already has a plan in place.”
Deepak and Hassan
In the same discussion, Virender talked about the dedication of Deepak to the game. He narrated that over the years, Deepak tried hard to maintain a highly disciplined and balanced life. Virender disclosed that Deepak even tried to learn a lot from the moves of the children too. He said,
If I tell trainees that they have 600 dand-baithak (push-ups plus deep knee bends) in the task, Deepak would not only complete that, he will do some extra. I have seen him learning moves from even kids.”
- According to Deepak Punia, his father used to deliver him fruits and milk from Jhajjar to his training centre for which he had to travel 60 km every morning. The people of his village named Deepak ‘Ketli Pehalwan’ when once, Deepak was offered some milk in a kettle by the head of the village, and Deepak drank the whole kettle in one gulp. Later, Deepak repeated the same incident three more times.
- Deepak likes shopping and visiting malls in his leisure time. He loves to spend time with his close friends. Deepak is a foodie and often likes eating junk food. In a conversation with a media house, he said that he liked eating junk food only during tournaments’ breaks. Deepak said,
Whenever I get a chance, like after the tournaments, I go out and eat even junk food. But once the break is over, I don’t think about anything else. Wrestling and training is life then.”
Deepak Punia with his friends
- Reportedly, according to Deepak Punia, the Haryana government did not support him financially during his initial years in wrestling. In a media conversation, Deepak said that he did not receive any monetary reward after he won the Cadet World Championship in 2016. Soon, his appeal was highlighted on social media by the Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia, who posted a tweet on his Twitter handle and wrote that the prize money for senior wrestlers was often being deducted by the government. He also highlighted the fact that for better encouragement junior wrestlers need financial support from the government so that they could train harder and perform better in their future competitions.
सीनियर खिलाड़ियों को तो फिर भी पुरस्कार रकम काट के दी गइ, जूनियर खलाडिय़ों को क्या सीनियर बन्ने तक प्रतिक्षा करनी पडेगी प्रत्साहन के लिय ? मेडल का रंग भी वही है और देस का नाम भी वही है, फिर ऐसा भेदभाव क्यूँ? कैडेट और जूनियर खिलाडिय़ों के लिए भी कुछ सोचे साहब। @anilvijminister https://t.co/SEs68tcZlA
— Bajrang Punia 🇮🇳 (@BajrangPunia) August 15, 2019
- According to some media sources, in 2018, Deepak Punia asked his father to stop selling milk as he was earning well for his family. In the same year, he purchased an SUV car for them.
- The United World Wrestling honoured Deepak Punia with the title Junior Freestyle Wrestler of the Year in 2019.
- In 2019, during the World Wrestling Championships, Deepak Punia got his shoulder and ankle injured. In the final matches of this tournament, he faced Hassan Yazdani, an Iranian wrestler, who defeated Deepak in the 86 kg weight category, and Deepak had to settle for the silver medal.
Deepak Punia posing with his silver medal after winning the World Championships
- In 2020, according to some media sources, Deepak Punia became the first wrestler in eighteen years to win a Junior World Championship. Forbes ranked him in its list of ’30 Under 30′ in 2021 due to his extraordinary performance at the Junior World Championships.
#DeepakPunia, the 21-year-old wrestler, became the first Indian in 18 years to win a Junior World Championship. Watch out for him at the Tokyo Olympics later this year! #ForbesIndia30U30
Check out the full list here: https://t.co/OcRKzXXdSl @India_AllSports@FederationWrest pic.twitter.com/gKdKwGzD1P
— Forbes India (@ForbesIndia) February 9, 2020
- Deepak Punia, along with his companion wrestler, Ravi Kumar Dahiya, visited Russia in 2021 for training sessions for the Tokyo Olympics. At the time of their arrival in Russia, they were partially vaccinated with Corona vaccines so the Indian Embassy in Moscow decided to vaccinate both of them with the second dose of Covishield. However, the strict vaccination policy of Poland did not allow them to get vaccinated with the second dose.
- In 2021, he was honoured with the Padma Shri award by the Government of India.
Deepak Punia while receiving Padma Shri in 2021
- Deepak Punia is a fitness enthusiast. He regularly does physical exercises and often shares pictures and videos of his exercise sessions on social media.
Deepak Punia while doing physical exercise
- He remains very active on various social media platforms. He has over 65k followers on Instagram. On Facebook, he is followed by more than people. He frequently shares pictures and videos on social media.