Bajrang Punia: Preparations for Tokyo Olympics on the right track

The wrestler says the Khel Ratna award will motivate him to do well.

Bajrang Punia: “The award has its own place and the competitions go on as usual.”   -  Sushil Kumar Verma

World championships silver medallist wrestler Bajrang Punia, whose name was recommended for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, on Friday said his preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was on the right track.

Twenty-five-year-old Punia, who is the reigning Asian Games, Asian championships and Commonwealth Games champion, said the Khel Ratna award would motivate him. “Definitely, the award will give me motivation to do well, but I do not link the award with my preparations for the Olympics,” Punia told Sportstar.

Punia, who had missed out on the Khel Ratna honour last year, said awards never interfered with his focus on competitions. “The award has its own place and the competitions go on as usual. My preparations for the Olympics have been going on nicely and will continue as per the plan.”

Punia, who was conferred the Padma Shri award earlier this year, has continued with his fine form in 2019 to win gold medals at top level events — including Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov tournament, Asian championships, Ali Aliev tournament and Tibilis Grand Prix.