Gurugram, December 7: World No. 1 in 65-kg freestyle wrestling, Bajrang Punia said that the upcoming Pro Wrestling league (PWL) will be a great platform for youngsters to learn from the world champions who will be in action during the fourth edition of the popular wrestling league which is schedule to start from January 14 to 31.
He also stated that PWL-4 will give the wrestlers much-needed preparation ahead of major events like the upcoming World Championships to be held in Astana from September 14 to 22.
The Astana world championships will serve as the first qualifying meet for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Ahead of the fourth edition of PWL, Puniya talked about his new team, how he looks to approach the season and his never-ending desire to win more laurels for the country.
In the recently held PWL draft, you were picked by NCR Punjab Royals. Your thoughts on the new team?
Firstly, it is an honour to have been picked by NCR Punjab Royals in the PWL draft as one of the most expensive players. It just shows that the owners of the NCR Punjab Royals have enough trust in me to deliver the best. I am going to do my best to win the title for this team.
The team has some really great players in every possible category. Right from Anju in the 53kg female category to the Canadian giant Korey Jarvis who competes in the 125 kg category, the entire team is made of champions. Senior national champion Amit Dhankar is also someone you need to watch out for in the future. Overall, it’s a great team and I am confident that we will be able to win the title.
How do you think PWL has benefited the young wrestlers of the country?
For me, personally, PWL has been an amazing platform to train with some of the best wrestlers in the world. It really helps to get a better understanding of the game while competing and practicing with some of the top players from the world. It’s indeed helpful to see and learn from their style of training and their style of preparing before a game. You get to know how different players have different approach and outlook towards the game. I think this is what PWL brings to the table apart from the high competitive level among wrestlers. Young wrestlers too are exposed to high level of training and competition during PWL.
You are the current world No.1 in the 65 kg category. How important is it for Indian wrestling?
I give all credit to my hard work and more hard work for where I stand today in terms of my rankings. This ride to the top has never been easy. It just means that I have to keep working harder if I want to maintain my ranking at the top. I am sure, my achievement will motivate others to keep working hard to achieve their goals.
The World Championships in Astana is an important event given that it serves as the first qualifying meet for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. What role will PWL play in preparation for the mega event?
The World Championships are very important for any wrestler, more so as the Astana event is the first qualifying meet for the Tokyo Games next year. PWL will definitely act as a reality check for me. It will give me an opportunity to have a good look at myself and see where I stand ahead of important events like the world championships and the Olympics.
You've won five international medals which includes gold medals in Asian Games and Commonwealth Games and a silver in the world championship last year, what are your immediate goals this year?
Right now, I want to focus on PWL and I want to win the PWL-4 title for the NCR Punjab Royals team and then focus on the other events after that.
Next year is the year of Olympics. Are you gunning for a gold?
Of course! That’s the aim! I am training hard, and I will keep pushing myself till the time I win that elusive medal for my country. All the hard work and sacrifice that I have been putting in, is for that ultimate goal.
Source: Press Release