September 20, 2022


Wrestling has been probably the most profitable sports activities for India on the Olympics. With a haul of 5 medals to this point, Indians wrestlers could be wanting ahead to persevering with their legacy on the Video games once they hit the mat on the Tokyo Olympics. A complete of seven wrestlers from India could be taking part within the grand occasion, which begins on July 23.

Hopes shall be stacked on Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat, who’ve been deemed as the perfect medal prospects for India within the sports activities.

For Punia, who fights within the extremely aggressive 65kg males’s freestyle class, the Tokyo Olympics may very well be the summit level of his profession for which he had been dreaming for over a decade—meticulously coaching below the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt.

A pupil on the Chhatrasal Stadium in Delhi, Punia idolises his mentor and developed a particular relationship with him. He even withdrew from the 65kg competitors in 2016 to provide Yogeshwar an opportunity to go to his second successive Olympics.

Hailing from the Khudan village within the Jhajjar district of Haryana, Punia picked up wrestling on the age of seven. He was born within the household of pehelwans who would struggle in akharas. In 2005, Bajrang determined to take his recreation to the following degree by shifting to the Sports activities Authority of India’s centre at Sonepat. In 2008, he was shifted to Delhi to coach on the Chhatrasal stadium.

He then began to coach below Dutt. After Bajrang gained silver on the 2011 cadet world championship within the 55kg class, Dutt requested Bajrang to change his weight class, even when he does not win a medal. It paid off, Bajrang gained a medal on the 2013 World Championships.

Quickly after Yogeshwar Dutt retired, Bajrang picked up the baton as a deserving successor. In 2018, Bajrang turned the one male wrestler to win gold on the Commonwealth Video games (2018) and Asian Video games (2018).

He has additionally bagged silver and two bronze medals on the World Championships.

Bajrang Punia at his training ahead of the Olympics

Bajrang Punia at his coaching forward of the Olympics

The build-up to the Olympics amid the lockdown in COVID-19 scenario put an extended break in Bajrang’s competitors and sparring companion. He made a powerful comeback in 2021 when he gained the gold medal on the Matteo Pellicone Rating Sequence 2021, held in Rome in March.

Issues had been wanting constructive forward when the second wave of COVID broke in India. Bajrang was once more left with out competitors. Nevertheless, in a month’s time, he might shift his base to Vladikavkaz, Russia, together with his coach Shako Bentinidis. In one of many native tournaments, Bajrang injured his knee; nevertheless, he has been capable of get better nicely from his harm.

A have a look at Bajrang’s probabilities at Tokyo Olympics

Bajrang, wrestling within the 65kg class, is seeded second behind Russia’s world champion Gadhzimurad Rashidov, feels the seeding will play an vital position on the Tokyo Olympics. In addition to, Daulet Niyazbekov of Kazakhstan, Ismail Muszukajev of Hungary, and Takuto Otoguro of Japan are seeded third, 4th, and fifth in his class, which makes it a highly-competitive weight division.

Regardless of being a high contender, Bajrang is understood to go on his prowl for factors slowly, ready for the opponent’s weak second. Nevertheless, at occasions, it will get too late. He can’t afford to provide away too many factors firstly of the bout at an vital match just like the Olympics. In 2020, he misplaced to 19-year-old Takuto Otoguro within the gold medal match on the Asian Championships. He had, the truth is, misplaced to the identical Japanese wrestler on the 2018 Worlds. He misplaced to Daulet Niyazbekov within the semifinals of the final Worlds Championships.

The likes of Otoguro, Gadzhimurad Rashidov, Niyazbekov and Iszmail Muszukajev amongst others have it in them to clinch gold medal. Bajrang has to remember; he mustn’t give away too many factors, which may very well be tough to compensate.

Bajrang’s brilliance lies in his stamina. Regardless of trailing, he could make fast recoveries and produce added thrust in opposition to his opponents once they have misplaced their energy. His waited video games are revered by a lot of his compatriots.

So far as the seedings are involved, Bajrang will evade Rashidov until the ultimate. Although the Kazakh had defeated Bajrang in Worlds semifinal, the Indian had the final chortle once they met for the final time on the Ali Aliyev match in June. Bajrang’s greatest menace would nonetheless be Otoguro and can attempt to evade the Japanese within the draw.

Bajrang is likely one of the best wrestlers in his class, and his opponents may also be desirous to evade the Indian wrestler. It will be tough to foretell if he can convey the gold residence. Nevertheless, a medal appears just about on the cardboard for him.



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