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Expecting two to three wrestling medals for India at Tokyo Olympics: Bajrang Punia

New Delhi, March 15: India's star wrestler Bajrang Punia hopes at least two to three medals in wrestling for India in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics but he'll keep his fingers crossed amid the coronavirus threat to the biggest sporting spectacle on the planet.

Speaking with media persons on the sidelines of an event in New Delhi, the 26-year-old said he's unfazed by the coronavirus outbreak.

Talking about the threats of coronavirus outbreak to wrestling as it is a contact sport, the Haryana wrestler said, "We have grown up playing amidst these fears since childhood. So we are accustomed to playing with dangers. The coaches themselves take care of such things and do not allow athletes to go out for practice if they are not feeling well. However, everyone should take proper precautions. Personally, I am not scared of it but injuries are not in our control."

Olympic preparations:

Talking about his preparations for the Olympics, the three-time World Wrestling Championship medal winner, said, "We are going to Russia in a training camp for preparations the coronavirus outbreak isn't that serious there so we are not stressed. But the wrestlers who are not yet qualified are under too much pressure."

When asked about which aspect of his game he's working, the Arjuna awardee said, "You learn about your mistakes whenever you compete in the events and work in every department. A lot was being talked about my leg defence, so I have worked a lot on that but there is still a lot of room for important. There are still a few months left for Tokyo Olympics, so by that time I'd strengthen it."

Medal Hopes from Wrestling

Ever since Sushil won an Olympic medal, the country always has high expectations from wrestling in the showpiece event and when asked about his predictions the wrestler said, "Looking at the performances of our wrestlers at the international competitions, and if the prayers of our supporters bear fruit then wrestling will bring win two to three medals at Tokyo Olympics. I won't take names but I am pretty convinced of a good show in Tokyo."

When asked if the Olympics get postponed for a period of say three or four months then how tough it will be for a wrestler to maintain their weight, Bajrang said, "It won't be much of a trouble for us because it will be the same for all the athletes if such a thing happens. A wrestler only needs 10-15 days to achieve the weight but we only need to avoid injuries during that period."

Social media pressure

When asked how will he cope up with the public pressure as and when the Tokyo Olympic approaches the wrestler said he'll quit social media at least a couple of months before the Olympics.

"I stay away from social media before every major tournament to prevent distractions. So, I will quit social media two to three months before the Olympics."

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Story first published: Sunday, March 15, 2020, 18:25 [IST]
Other articles published on Mar 15, 2020
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