With No National Camps, Bajrang Punia Resumes Training on His Own

Video: Bajrang Punia takes us through his training routine as he once again starts training for the Tokyo Olympics.

2 min read

(Edited by Deepthi Ramdas. Footage courtesy: JSW)

The Olympics may have been postponed by a year but Bajrang Punia’s focus hasn't shifted. The target is the podium in Tokyo and training is back on at full swing with his coach Shako too returning to India to chart the plan for the next several months, leading up to the Games in 2021.

“It feels great because after very long I've started training on the mat again. Due to lockdown, we weren't able to train, so to return to wrestling is a great feeling. To live that same life, feels great,” Bajrang told The Quint, while taking us through his weekly training regime which, by many counts, is among the most punishing among sportsmen in the country.

“I train twice a day. At around 6:30 am, I do my gym session till about 9-9:30 and then again I train in the evening at around 4-4:30 pm. Every day, we work on different things. Only Sundays I take an off,” adds the 26-year-old, who didn’t stop training even during the lockdown, having set up a gym inside his house.

restler in his category, till a few months back, Bajrang is a three-time World Championship medallist along with gold medals in the 2018 Asian and Commonwealth Games.

No wonder then that he’s one of India’s main contenders for a golden finish in Tokyo as well. But while his sponsors JSW have helped him return to the mat, inviting him to the IIS in Bellary to train, there is no date set as yet by the wrestling federation for an official national camp.

“We don't have news yet. They had said earlier it would be in August. My coach landed some days back and he's under quarantine in Delhi. I was told there was no concrete decision on the camp yet so I was advised to call my coach here itself. There's nothing sure about the camp yet, no date,” says Bajrang.

By virtue of a podium finish at the 2019 World Championships, Bajrang along with Ravi Kumar, Vinesh Phogat and Deepak Punia are the four Indian wrestlers who have booked their berth at the Tokyo Olympics.

However, there are many more who were training for the rest of the qualification events when lockdowns across the world forced everything to a halt. So, while Bajrang’s focus will remain on maintaining fitness and polishing his skills, there are many like veteran wrestler Sushil Kumar, who need the wrestling federation to map out the plan for the national camp to get the wheels in motion.

For Bajrang, though, the off time has a silver lining.

“It’s the off-season right now, so we train and work on our power, stamina and other small things like our muscles. Because, otherwise, we wouldn't get so much time... tournaments would be on every few months and so, we couldn't focus on our strength. Now, we have got the opportunity. We will get to know when tournaments begin because we will be informed two months before and that is when we will shift focus to training on the mat,” he says.

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