Encouraged by his second consecutive Sportstar award, ace wrestler Bajrang Punia said he would do his best to make the Tricolour fly high in the Tokyo Olympics later this year.
Bajrang, 25, the only Indian wrestler to claim three medals in the world championships, said he was disappointed at not being able to claim the World title in an otherwise excellent year, 2019.
“Both 2018 and 2019 were very fine years for me. I will try my best to perform well in 2020 as well. Last year, I could not win the World championships gold medal. I regret that I could not rise to the expectation of my countrymen. I will work on my game and avoid mistakes in future events.
“I want to win as many medals as possible this year too. Of course, the Tokyo Olympics remains at the top of my priority,” Bajrang told Sportstar .
“My preparation for the Tokyo Olympics is going on nicely. I will give my 100 per cent in the Olympics and win a medal for the country.
The Ranking Series is the first event of the year. Then, the Asian championships is there in Delhi in February. After that I will see whether I should compete in one more event or straightaway compete in the Olympics.”
For Bajrang, being chosen Sportsman of the Year (Individual Sports) meant a lot. “Sorry, I could not make it (to the awards function in Mumbai on January 13) as I had to compete in the year’s first tournament — Ranking Series. It will help me in the Olympics.
“I thank Sportstar and The Hindu Group for choosing me for this award for a second consecutive time. I will try my best to make the Tricolour fly high in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. I request you to keep supporting me,” said Bajrang.
Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, chess ace Vishwanathan Anand, The Hindu Publishing Group chairman N. Ram, former India hockey captain M. M. Somaya, Olympian shooter Anjali Bhagwat and Olympian shuttler Aparna Popat selected the deserving winners in categories involving young athletes, teams, coaches and parathletes.
The awards look to create a medium of knowledge and vision exchange as it brings all stakeholders of Indian sports under one roof.
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