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Not thinking about Olympic wrestling draw after deciding to skip Poland meet, have to put in my best in every match: Bajrang Punia | More sports News – Times of India

June 17, 2021

NEW DELHI: Bajrang Punia opted out of the Poland Open, a ranking series event, to train and grapple with some of the top wrestlers in Russia. After reaching Russia, he saw Vinesh Phogat winning gold in Poland to confirm herself the top seeding in the women’s 53kg draw for the Tokyo Olympics. Bajrang could have done the same, but he isn’t repenting or thinking about the Olympic draw.
Ranked world No. 2 in the fiercely competitive 65kg freestyle event, Bajrang is assured of a top-four seeding in Tokyo. But one of India’s top medal hopes at the Games has put those thoughts on the backburner now.
Last week, Bajrang tweeted pictures of him training in Russia with David Baev, the 2019 world champion in the 70kg category. For Bajrang, this training experience is more valuable than what the Poland ranking series would have offered.

“I would have benefited in ranking if I had competed in Poland…(But) I am not thinking so much about the draw. 65kg is a very competitive category, so I have to put in my best in every match,” said Bajrang talking to from Russia.
Current world No. 1 Rashidov Gadzhimurad of Russia and Daulet Niyazbekov of Kazakhstan (ranked 3rd) are among the three main contenders, along with Bajrang, to win the 65kg gold in Tokyo.
In light of that, the draw in Tokyo could very well hold the key. But Bajrang feels a favourable draw helps only in the initial stages of the tournament.
“The advantage of the draw will be in the first 1-2 matches, but if you go ahead, then you have to fight hard and give your best. I need training the most now,” the 2018 Asian Games and Commonwealth Games champion said.

The semi-final defeat at the 2019 World Championships hurt Bajrang a lot but he isn’t carrying any baggage of that to Tokyo.
It was Niyazbekov who restricted Bajrang to a bronze in Nur Sultan two years ago.
“You don’t change your techniques just because of one loss. I learn a lot from every match, whether I win or lose, and then we discuss and try to improve,” he further told
That improvement process happens with Bajrang’s personal coach Shako Bentinidis.
“With Shako, I discuss all the insights of a match and we analyse what should be our next move,” said the 27-year-old Bajrang, who was conferred the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 2019.

Bajrang puts a lot of effort into his workout routines, which is what he feels separates him from many international wrestlers.
“Foreign athletes work mostly on their technique, but I like to work not only on my technique but also the physical workout. Apart from this, I have got to learn a lot from my old bouts. I watch them a lot with my coaches to improve all my weaknesses.”
The wrestling competition at the Tokyo Olympics will take place during the latter half of the July 23 to August 8 Tokyo Olympics. The men’s 65kg freestyle competition is scheduled for August 6 and 7.
Apart from Bajrang and Vinesh, seven other Indian wrestlers will compete at the Tokyo Olympics.

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