Bajrang armed with new tricks for Asian challenge

Punia, a World championship silver medallist, has been sharpening his skills under the watchful eyes of his personal coach Shako Bentinidis and other coaches in the national camp.

Bajrang Punia has a set plan until the World championships, which will serve as an Olympic qualifying event.   -  FILE PHOTO/ SANDEEP SAXENA

 

World No.1 wrestler Bajrang Punia has mastered some new techniques. He is keen to showcase those in the Asian Wrestling Championships to be held in Xian, China, from April 23 to 28.

Notwithstanding his string of fine performances for two years, Punia, a World championship silver medallist, has been sharpening his skills under the watchful eyes of his personal coach Shako Bentinidis and other coaches in the national camp.

“I am working on leg defence, attack and some new techniques. Every coach gives his inputs. You never know which technique can come in handy in which bout. I watch others' videos, likewise other wrestlers also watch my videos. I will try to use the new techniques in the Asian championships (to surprise my opponents),” Bajrang told Sportstar.

READ| Bajrang regains top spot in world wrestling rankings

The 25-year-old has a plan until the World championships, which will serve as an Olympic qualifying event.

“After the Asian championships, I will go directly to Russia for the Ali Aliev Memorial meet. I will have 20 to 25 days of training in the USA. I will participate in the ranking series in Turkey before competing in the World championships.

Bajrang Punia was the only wrestler to receive the Padma Shri among the awardees this year.   -  PTI

“Some of my best performances came in 2017 and 2018. So far, 2019 — in which I competed in the Pro Wrestling League, German league and won a gold medal in the Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov tournament in Bulgaria — has been good. I will try to maintain it till 2020. I hope to win a medal in the Olympics.”

Bajrang was the first Indian in the German league. “Overall, the experience was good. I felt like as if I am wrestling in India because I got a lot of love from the people.”

The top-ranked Bajrang doesn’t get carried away by rankings. “Everyone wants to be number one. If I am number one, then I should be able to beat everyone. It's a good thing for Indian wrestling as it will inspire the youngsters.”

Besides focusing on his career, Bajrang took heart from the fact that the Wrestling Federation of India helped lesser known youngsters following Tata Motors' support. “It will help the youngsters who don't get sponsorship,” he said.