Bajrang Punia trains with one of his Tokyo Olympics 2020 opponents

Bajrang Punia is one of the biggest names in Indian wrestling and a medal hopeful at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. The 27-year-old wrestler from Haryana is one of the frontrunners to break a nine-year-old Olympic medal drought in wrestling.

Punia has been upping the ante with a strong and strict training regimen at Vladikavkaz in Russia. He faced issues in finding a sparring partner in India for his training. Bajrang Punia’s sparring partner Jitender Kumar was suffering from an injury while wrestlers from foreign countries had travel restrictions imposed on them due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read: Bajrang Punia at the Tokyo Olympics 2020: SWOT Analysis

It was then when Bajrang Punia chose to travel to Russia and prepare for the Tokyo Olympics 2020. The grappler took part in the Ali Aliev Memorial tournament in Kaspiysk in Russia, where a leg injury in the semi-finals threatened to disrupt his preparations for the Tokyo Olympics.

However, Bajrang Punia has overcome the injury scare and is back to an intense training schedule.

Bajrang Punia trains with some of the best

Apart from getting back on track with his training, Bajrang Punia has also trained with one of his opponents in the Tokyo Olympics 2020, Vazgen Tevanyan. The 21-year-old is considered to be one of Bajrang Punia’s toughest opponents and could be standing between the Indian grappler and a podium finish.

Tevanyan has been in good form in the last couple of years. He has won the Individual World Cup and topped the charts at the European Olympic qualification tournament.

Also Read: Who is Bajrang Punia? 5 things you didn’t know about the Tokyo Olympics medal hopeful

Training with Tevanyan will be a good move for Bajrang as he has been found wanting during leg attacks in the past. Training with an Olympic opponent will put Bajrang in good stead ahead of the tournament.

Bajrang Punia’s coach Shako Bentinidis shed light on the grappler’s training and said his stint in Russia was an enriching one.

“Training has been going good. We have learned a lot in our time here. The injury was a little setback but we focused on weight training during that period,” Shako Bentinidis told Sportskeeda.

Speaking about Bajrang Punia’s training with Vazgen Tevanyan, Shako Bentindis said:

“Tevanyan is a good wrestler. He will be competing at the Tokyo Olympics too. It was good we trained with him.”

The Tokyo Olympics 2020 commences on July 24 while the wrestling events start on August 6. Bajrang Punia and his team will wrap up their training in the next 10 days and travel to Tokyo from Russia.

“We will leave for Moscow on July 24 and for the Tokyo Olympics on July 26,” Bajrang Punia’s coach Shako Bentinidis confirmed.

Also read: Yogeshwar Dutt believes Bajrang Punia can win a medal at Tokyo Olympics

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