Sakshi and Bajrang focused ahead of Asiad

While Sakshi Malik doesn't want to think too much about medals, Bajrang Punia, one of India's medal prospects, is brimming with confidence.

Indian wrestlers Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia are feeling confident ahead of the Asian Games 2018.   -  Shayan Acharya

From being just another woman grappler to winning silver in the Rio Olympics, Sakshi Malik has come a long way. And as Indian wrestlers get ready for the Asian Games, Sakshi admits that with expectations mounting, there will be pressure on her.

"There will be pressure. People keep on saying that no matter what others do, you have to get medals. But is it possible to win medals every time? It does add to the pressure. The job is to keep focused and do well," Sakshi said on Wednesday.

While the preparations have been good for her, Sakshi doesn't want to think too much about whether she will be able to strike gold. "We don't go by the colour of the medal. The target is to bring laurels for the country. That's the ultimate goal," she said.

But she also admits that the Asian Games will be a tougher challenge. "That's because there are some very good wrestlers from the Asian countries. I won't single out any opponent but countries like Japan and China will give us tough challenge."

In an athlete's life, ups and downs do happen. And Sakshi is just trying to keep that in mind. "We want to win medals every time but that doesn't happen always. It's not that we are going there to have fun. We go through a lot," she said, adding, "When things go wrong, we talk to psychologists and take lessons on how to overcome the phase."

While she doesn't want to think too much about the medal, Bajrang Punia, one of India's medal prospects, is brimming with confidence. "We will do well. Everyone expects me to win gold and my confidence is high. Since I have won golds in the last two outings, I will expect to keep it going in the Asian Games," Bajrang, who will be participating in his second Asian Games, said.

In 2014, he had bagged a silver and he hopes to do better this time. "In the last two months, I was training abroad in Georgia and that actually helped. We don't want to take anyone lightly. The job is to give your best," he said. Bajrang says he has learnt a lot from wrestling star Yogeshwar Dutt. And when he travels for the Games, he will be taking a tip or two from his guru. 

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