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Bajrang Punia will miss the ranking tournament in Poland, he chooses to train in Russia

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File photo of Byrang Punia.

India’s top wrestler Bairang Punia will not compete in the upcoming ranking competition in Poland, saying that more than scoring points, he desperately needs mat training with strong sparring partners before the Tokyo Olympics, as the category up to 65 kg is loaded with the best performers.

The 27-year-old said the pandemic had adversely affected his study schedule, as neither he could travel abroad nor anyone could be invited to India in practice.

While other Indian wrestlers related to the Olympics will travel to Poland, Byrang will travel to Russia. “Before the Olympics, I need more training. The last 18 months have been difficult. There have been no competitions or training camps outside. It has become a huge challenge to get sparring partners. Keeping fit has also been a challenge,” Byrang said during an interaction with the Sports Authority. of India.

“There are 10-12 wrestlers in my category and each of them is capable of beating everyone. There is not a single wrestler who is a favorite weighing up to 65 kg. I insert the draw.

“That’s why I have to focus on my training, that’s why I planned this trip to Russia. I’m waiting for my visa. There will be a lot of strong fighters in Russia, including world and Olympic champions.”

Poor leg protection and early scoring are disgusting, but Byrang said he has worked hard to improve both points. His great strength and endurance always give him an advantage over rivals.

“My coaches say I end up losing a lot of strength in this point recovery process, so now I’m trying not to give up those early points. My training has been such since my early days that my game has become strength-oriented. But however, I worked on protecting my leg and it got better, “he said.

Byrang said he supported the Tokyo Olympics to continue on schedule, although there is a growing chorus for the Games to be canceled amid the pandemic.

“As an athlete, I want the Olympics to continue. No player will say he wants the Olympics canceled.”

India will present a strong eight-member contingent at the Tokyo Games, and Byrang has expressed confidence that the country will receive at least four medals.

Byrang said support for athletes has become much better since 2016, but more needs to be done at the level. “We always talk about Olympic medals, but we have to support athletes in their teens. If facilities and support are given to athletes from an early age, then India will also be a strong Olympic country like the United States,” he said.

Answering a different question, Byrang said he did not even know about the Olympics until 2005.

As I progressed, step by step, my horizons widened. The goals got bigger, from national to international, and then I started thinking about the Olympics. Until 2005, I didn’t even know about the Games. I just loved the Dangals. he said.

Byrang said recruiting a foreign coach has helped him, as he used to struggle to find strong partners when he was abroad because of the language barrier, but things have become easier since the arrival of Shako Bentinidis.

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