Wrestler Bajrang says will compete in Asian Games & World Championships if enough gaptext_fields
NEW DELHI: Bajrang Punia an elite Indian wrestler said on Saturday that if there was a gap of at least a month between the two matches, he would compete in the postponed Asian Games and the World Championships next year.
Due to concerns over the rising Covid 19 cases in china, the 2022 Asian Games were postponed and new dates for the important Continental event have not been announced by the organizers yet. The World Championships to be held in Russia in September 2023 will be an Olympic qualifier.
"2023 is an important year. The focus is on qualifying for the Paris Games through the World Championships. We don't know as yet what is going to be the gap between Asian Games and the Worlds."
"But if we have one or one-and-a-half-month cushion between the two, I would compete in both," Bajrang said during a virtual interaction, facilitated by SAI.
Bajrang, 28, who won a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics Games, finds no benefit in regretting his past mistakes. Instead, he will learn from them and move forward with better goals of winning Olympic gold at the 2024 Paris Games.
"I was injured and was in rehab for about 8 months after Olympics. Olympics is the most important event for any athlete. That was a setback but still, I won a bronze. 65 is the toughest category in the world."
"I have not changed a bit after winning an Olympic medal. The endeavour would be to do better in 2024. I have been training again", he said.
India has won medals in wrestling at the last four Olympics. There is bronze and silver, but not gold. That is the goal of the Paris Games.
"We have to forget mistakes, learn from them and move forward. Victory and defeats are part of an athlete's life, we have to accept both," he added.
Bajrang will leave for the United States on Sunday for training ahead of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. The multiple world medalist has said he will find a great sparring partner when he trains outside.
"I will be training at the Michigan University. Many top wrestlers train there. Like, I will be training with the world's number one in 70kg (Ernazar Akmataliev, Kyrgyzstan). The 86kg Olympic medallist will also be there. That's why I prefer to train there."
"Also, we are saved from usual distractions when we train in India. No one disturbs us abroad." He asserted that no wrestler, from any nation, tries to injure others deliberately during these training stints, PTI reported.
"We may be fierce competitors on the mat but off-mat we are all friends. There is no such fear in my mind that I will get injured, never thought like that. I have trained in Russia, Europe, the USA and Asian nations but nothing like that has ever happened," he assured.
The Commonwealth Games, considering the low competition level, will be a test event for Bajrang, who though does not want to take things lightly. "Remember I had finished second there in 2014," he said.