Bajrang Punia's mantra ahead of the Olympics: Practice, practice and practice

Bajrang Punia, the world's top the wrestler in the men’s freestyle 65kg category, returned to competition by winning the gold at the Matteo Pellicone event in Rome earlier this month.

Bajrang Punia

Bajrang Punia with his coach Shako Bentinidis.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Cutting out distractions, polishing every aspect of his game and exploring the best option for vaccination, ace wrestler Bajrang Punia is seriously into the Tokyo Olympics preparatory mode.

Following a long pandemic-induced break, Bajrang trained in the USA for two months and then returned to competition at the Matteo Pellicone event in Rome, where he won a gold medal earlier this month.

“In the lockdown I prepared (myself). In these two events I tested myself. Yes, these events were the first events after a long break and it helped me gain some perspective about my training,” Bajrang told Sportstar.

Before the Asian championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan, in mid-April, Bajrang has suspended his social media accounts to limit his focus on the Olympics.

RELATED| All 12 women wrestlers at national camp test negative, to begin training from Monday

“It is a distraction. There is always something going on and I need my undivided attention right now. I have more time to dedicate to my training and recovery now. More (I do that) the better (for me),” he said.

For Bajrang, the No.1 wrestler in men’s freestyle 65kg category, his coach Shako Bentinidis’s advice is his success mantra. “You never stop working on anything. We keep working on everything. My coach says, ‘You must work, especially on important things. And everything is important.’ ”

Like everyone else, Bajrang wants to “keep working and stick to the given plan” for the Olympics in July-August.

The 27-year-old has improved his leg defence, which allowed a few of his opponents to snatch some crucial points in the past.

“There is some improvement and there is more to work on (it). Practice, practice and practice, that’s the goal.”

RELATED| Bajrang Punia goes into exam mode, will deactivate all social media handles till Olympics

Along with his preparations, getting the vaccinae is a vital aspect for Bajrang in the run-up to the Olympics. “I am doing some research on which is the best option available. I will take some suggestions from my physician and plan it accordingly.”

In this important journey, the newly-married Bajrang is fortunate to have the support of his wrestler wife Sangeeta Phogat. “We were athletes before getting married and it still remains the same. We discuss various techniques and look at videos together. It’s like getting married to a colleague. It is interesting and fun,” said Bajrang.