September 25, 2022

NEW DELHI: Wrestler Bajrang Punia’s Whatsapp show image is of a pattern Tokyo Olympics gold medal. He has stored it as his DP because the begin of 2017. “Lakshya se nazar kabhi hatni nahi chahiye (one mustn’t lose sight of the goal)” is what Bajrang says.
A person of few phrases, all of Bajrang’s energies within the final 4 years have been skilled in the direction of getting that Olympic medal. Whether or not it’s about which event to take part in and which to let go, or about the place to do his coaching or selecting his sparring companions, Bajrang’s strikes have been solely pushed by this robust want to win gold on the Olympics.
The nation additionally has huge expectations from him, and why not! Within the final 4 years, Bajrang has gained gold on the Commonwealth Video games and the Asian Video games (each in 2018); two gold medals (2017, 2019), two silver (2020, 2021) and one bronze (2018) on the Asian Championships; and a silver (2018) and a bronze (2019) on the World Championships.
He has additionally gained a plethora of top-ranked positions at varied worldwide wrestling tournaments.


Bajrang will go into the Tokyo Olympics because the world No. 2 and in addition the second seed for the Video games within the 65kg class. A medal within the 65kg, nonetheless, gained’t be straightforward. It is sort of a ‘group of loss of life’ with 7-8 evenly-matched, supremely gifted grapplers who can defeat the opposite on any given day.
There’s reigning world champion and high seed Gadzhimurad Rashidov of Russia (towards whom Bajrang has by no means competed) and the 2018 world champion Takuto Otoguro of Japan, who has defeated Bajrang twice in two conferences thus far. Then there’s Daulet Niyazbekov of Kazakhstan, seeded third, and Iszmail Muszukajev of Hungary, the fourth seed. To not rely out different fierce opponents and large names like Haji Aliyev of Azerbaijan and John Michael Diakomihalis of america.
As per the seedings, Bajrang will keep away from Muszukaev, who is just not in his half, and can most likely face Rashidov provided that he enters the ultimate. Nevertheless, earlier than that, Bajrang will hope to not run into his Achilles heel Otoguro previous to the semis. If he will get previous Otoguro, Bajrang might face Niyazbekov within the semifinals.

Although the Kazakh had defeated Bajrang within the 2019 World Championships semifinal, the Indian got here out trumps of their final assembly on the Ali Aliyev event in June.
“There’s no person who’s a favorite within the 65kg class. There are 10-12 wrestlers who can defeat one another on their day,” Bajrang had informed TOI earlier than he left for a coaching stint in Russia.
“I imagine in my coaching and wish to give my finest (on the Olympics). I wish to come again with a medal.”
To come back out victorious towards such a subject, Bajrang would’ve to be on high of his sport proper from the phrase go. It is not uncommon for Bajrang to provide away factors initially of a bout after which make a strong comeback – particularly within the second quarter.
“I’m engaged on not giving factors early. Coach (Emzarios ‘Shako’ Bentinidis) retains on telling me {that a} come-from-behind victory requires a number of effort and if I carry on doing that, I might be spent once I attain the medal rounds,” displays Bajrang.

Quite a bit has been mentioned and written about Bajrang’s one main shortcoming: his leg defence. He, nonetheless, needs general enchancment.
“Simply specializing in leg defence is just not the answer. If I preserve engaged on simply that, different areas of my sport might be ignored and new issues will crop up. I shouldn’t depart something unattended.”
However the constructive elements of his sport make him merely irresistible.
“When the opponent begins getting drained and fatigue units in him, that’s once I pounce on and assault and accumulate factors. My type is extra on the strains of working exhausting for my win. I’m not in a position to play the technical sport like the opposite 65kg wrestlers do. My robust level is energy and endurance. That helps me to return again (in a bout),” says the 27-year-old, who might be collaborating in his first Olympics.
“Energy, endurance, stamina comes by coaching. No different formulation. I don’t like understanding within the fitness center that a lot. I like our desi strategies like dand-baithak (sit-ups), rassi chadhai (rope climb). For me, it’s extra about physique weight coaching. That will increase the facility and stamina.”
August 6 and seven would be the days of reckoning for Bajrang in Tokyo.

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