Bajrang Punia's coach Shako upbeat about upcoming US stint

Bajrang’s stint will be from December 4 to January 3 at the Cliff Keen Wrestling Club, Michigan, at an approximate cost of Rs 14 lakh.

Bajrang Punia with coach Shako Bentinidis.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Bajrang Punia’s coach Shako Bentinidis is upbeat about the triple World championships medallist wrestler’s forthcoming USA training stint.

Bajrang’s stint will be from December 4 to January 3 at the Cliff Keen Wrestling Club, Michigan, at an approximate cost of Rs 14 lakh. The trip has been approved by the Government’s Mission Olympic Cell.

Bajrang, who got married to wrestler Sangeeta Phogat recently, will be accompanied by Bentinidis and physio Dhananjay.

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During the one-month period, the 26-year-old – who qualified for the Tokyo Olympics by claiming a bronze medal at the World championships in Nur-Sultan last year – will get to train with top international wrestlers in his weight category (65kg) under head coach and two-time Olympic champion Sergei Beloglazov. He may also get a competition.

Bentinidis hoped the exposure would help Bajrang, who had been training at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Sonepat.

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“Here, there is no partner. Most of the top wrestlers here are from heavier weights. We must give the best for the Olympics,” Bentinidis told Sportstar from Georgia. He will directly join Bajrang in the USA.

“We will focus on the technical side – how to move faster, leg defence etc.”

Asked about concerns relating to the large number of COVID-19 cases in the USA, Bentinidis said one must focus on the training without bothering about the pandemic. “Otherwise, how is it possible to do well in the Olympics?” said Bentinidis.

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