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CWG 2022: Bajrang Punia yearns for the highest once more after damage and rehabilitation | Commonwealth Games 2022 News

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Try and reminisce the times earlier than the Tokyo Olympics with wrestler Bajrang Punia because the central determine. There was a way of anticipation within the air. He was touted to be India’s greatest hope for an Olympic gold. Fans, the wrestling federation and sure sections of media thought it was a foregone conclusion.
After all he was the World No. 2 going into the Olympics, he had received the 2018 Commonwealth Games in addition to the 2018 Asian Games gold medals, apart from approaching prime in numerous rating tournaments earlier than the marquee occasion.
But those who comply with the game recurrently and with intent knew the sphere was robust within the 65kg weight class. There have been the likes of prime seed Gadzhimurad Rashidov of Russia, 2018 World Champion Takuto Otoguro of Japan, Iszmail Muszukajev of Hungary, John Michael Diakomihalis of the United States and fierce rivals like Haji Aliyev of Azerbaijan and Daulet Niyazbekov of Kazakhstan. Ultimately, Bajrang misplaced the semifinal to Aliyev, however grabbed the bronze by placing it throughout Niyazbekov within the repechage spherical.

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A bronze was “somewhat a setback” in Bajrang’s personal phrases, however once more in response to Bajrang “an Olympic medal is an Olympic medal”.
During the Olympics, we noticed Bajrang combating through the preliminary rounds in addition to the match towards Aliyev with a protecting tape and cap on his proper knee. As a consequence, he was a contact tentative and did not go all out till the bronze medal match towards Niyazbekov. He thumped the Kazakh 8-0 in that bout.

India's history at the Commonwealth Games

India’s historical past on the Commonwealth Games

“With the knee strapping, it was difficult with the movements to attack. I was fearful while going for the attack,” Bajrang recollects.
In the build-up to the Olympics, Bajrang injured himself throughout a preparatory match in Russia. He did some rehab in Russia, however his thoughts was impacted. “The semifinal result against Aliyev would’ve been different if I had gone all out like I did in the bronze medal match,” Bajrang rues.

After the Olympics, Bajrang went into full rehab for almost seven months. “The first six-seven months after the Olympics have been spent in nursing the damage. I used to be solely targeted on not aggravating it and shifting in the proper route,” Bajrang mentioned throughout a media interplay organised by the Sports Authority of India earlier than heading for a 35-day coaching camp in Michigan, United States.
He will straightaway go to Birmingham from the US to defend his Commonwealth Games title.

“You do regret the mistakes you made in the past, but you have to move on eventually and focus on your training and the next competitions. It’s more about learning from mistakes than regretting them,” the 28-year-old added.
Back on the mat, Bajrang received a silver on the Asian Championship in April this yr. In May, he was made to sweat exhausting on the trials for the CWG, however finally clinched his spot. In June, he received a bronze on the Bolat Turlykhanov Cup in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Bajrang, up to now, has appeared a shadow of what he was at his peak. The competitors at CWG, nevertheless, is just not the strongest, and Bajrang can look to raise his confidence degree on the occasion. A gold medal-winning efficiency may simply be the booster shot he wants.
August 5 would be the day Bajrang will get the eye of the nation again on him.


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Written by Aj Singh

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