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Preparation for Tokyo 2020 is very much on track: Bajrang Punia

Preparation for Tokyo 2020 is very much on track: Bajrang Punia

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Published: 24 Jan 2019 6:13 AM GMT
Bajrang Punia has undoubtedly emerged as India's next Freestyle wrestling star and he had a fantastic 2018 to back this claim up. In November, he even rose in the rankings to become the World No 1 in the 65kg weight category. He amassed five major medals in the previous season which included Golds at the Asian and Commonwealth Games and a Silver at the World Championships. On the sidelines of the ongoing Pro Wrestling League, Bajrang spoke to IANS about how he is mentally preparing himself for the Tokyo test. Come 2020, Indian wrestling will be under scrutiny from Indian sports enthusiasts and Bajrang will be at the centre of it having been touted as a major medal hope for the country. Here are a few excepts from the interview.
On the mood before Tokyo 2020.
“Given my performance in the last season and my current form and training, I can confidently say that my preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Games are very much on the right track."
On the challenges which will help prepare for the Olympics.
“The 2019 World Championship is the biggest and the most challenging event before the Tokyo Games. It is also an Olympic qualifier, so the whole focus at this moment is on the World event which is scheduled to be held in Kazakhastan. The Asian Championships is the next big even this year, apart from these two, there are few other friendly and practice events which my coaches have drawn for me."
On the role of Pro Wrestling League and the exposure it brings for Indian wrestling.
"The PWL has given all Indian wrestlers great exposure and that too at home. Getting to play world and Olympic champions at our own backyard in an event like this is a great feeling. Not many wrestlers worldwide can boast of such an experience. We are training with these champion wrestlers, we all are learning a lot from these bouts, from the mistakes that we are committing here, and I am sure when we face these wrestlers on the world stage, we will be well prepared."
On the most promising PWL performances.
"There are quite a few players who have shown promise this season but I am really impressed with Pinki and Ravi. Pinki rallied to beat the 2017 world champion Vanesa and Ravi got the better of the seasoned Sandeep Tomar with a very dominating performance. These are good signs for Indian wrestling and many thanks to PWL I should say."
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