Bajrang Punia, who won gold medal at the Asian Wrestling Championship, said that the yellow medal has its own shine and he would now target medals at bigger competitions.
Bajrang said that his medal cannot be compared to any other that he has won in the past. “I am an Asian champion now. A gold is a gold and it cannot be compared to any other medal that I had won earlier. Gold has its own shine. It’s a big thing. Becoming a champion really matters and I would like to win medals at bigger international competitions,” said Bajrang, who defeated South Korea’s Seungchul Lee 6-2 to win the competition in the 65kg freestyle category.
The 23-year-old, who is now aiming for the World Championship, said that he has now got the confidence of taking bigger challenges. “Asia has the likes of Iran and Japan, whose wrestlers are among the best in the world. After becoming an Asian champion, I have got the confidence of doing well at the world level as well,” said the only gold medal winner at the event.
“I have already started focussing on the World Championship. The competition would be much tougher there but I am all ready to work harder and concentrate on strength training so that I could be more aggressive,” he said.
Talking about his mentor Yogeshwar Dutt, he said, “Yogi bhai always tells me to keep attacking. That’s my strength. Whenever I get defensive it goes against me. That’s
a flaw in my game and I have to be careful not to let that aspect surface during a fight, otherwise I end up being on the losing side.”
“I got defensive during the World Cup and ended up losing points due to that. Yogi bhai told me to keep up the defense of my legs, and not to provide the opponents an opportunity to attack,” he explained.
Bajrang, who won a silver medal at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, said that he works on his speed which further helps him enhance his stamina. “I rely a lot on my pace during the attacks. I practice hard to increase my speed and that in turns enhances my stamina,” he said.
He said that he did not think about his opponent as his focus remained the gold medal. “I never cared whether it was an easy or a difficult draw because I knew that if I had to win the gold medal then I would have to defeat whosoever came in the way. I strategised according to each and every opponent I faced and never let myself got bogged down by the big names,” said Bajrang.
Taking inspiration from Olympic medallists himself, Bajrang hopes that his gold medal will also inspire other junior wrestlers. He said, “I hope that my win is going to be an inspiration to the junior wrestlers. I look up to the Olympic medallists like
Yogi bhai. I would want to set an example like that and this Asian Championship gold medal will give me confidence to do well in future tournaments,” said Bajrang.