'No social media' - Bajrang Punia ready to renounce everything for a podium finish at Tokyo 2020

Punia also received his first dose of Covid-19 vaccine

By Samrat Chakraborty

Bajrang Punia is gearing up for the Tokyo Olympics in the national camp at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Sonepat. After returning from Rome, where he won gold at the Matteo Pellicone event, the 65kg elite wrestler has now set his sights on an Olympic medal.

He is ready to set aside everything and focus only on wrestling to achieve his target. Earlier in March, he stopped using social media as he feels that it is an unnecessary distraction.

"Nothing like that (if any particular incident prompted him to deactivate social media). But I felt that social media was disturbing my preparation. And Olympic is the biggest event so I thought it would be better if like put all my focus on my preparation. If I want to win a medal in Olympics, I have to keep everything aside for the coming months," Bajrang told ANI.

"I can use social media after the Olympics also. So, instead of wasting my time, I decided to focus on preparations. In our free time we can work on our weakness too," he added.

He has improved on his leg defence which as one of the primary reasons behind him clinching gold in Rome, which was his first tournament after the Covid-19 pandemic broke out.

He is aware that the country expects great things from him at Tokyo 2020 which is scheduled to start on 23rd July 2021. But he is not letting the pressure get to him. Even Wrestling Federation of India president Brijbhushan Sharan Singh stated that he expects Indian wrestlers to do well in Tokyo.

"I am trying my best, but it is easier said than done. My focus is only on doing hard work and for that, I am focusing on my training. The first time it has happened that four wrestlers have qualified. So, WFI (Wrestling Federation of India) president is right in expecting the medals from us as in recent past wrestlers have performed brilliantly.

"And we are working hard to win a medal for the country, but it isn't that easy. It's not like that you go into the Olympics and the medal is assured, you have to work hard for it," he quipped.

Union sports minister Kiren Rijiju, had said that Olympic bound athletes will be given preference for the Coronavirus vaccine and Bajrang received his first dose on Thursday.

"I followed the procedure which has been laid out for the common man. I had registered for it. I am feeling ok, there was a slight headache and heaviness after I took a shot but I am perfectly alright now," Bajrang said.

He booked his ticket to Tokyo Games in September 2019 after winning a bronze medal at the World Championships.