NEW DELHI: India’s star wrestler, Bajrang Punia, will continue training in the USA for one more month until first week of February after his request for an extension of his exposure trip in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics was approved by the Sports Authority of India‘s (SAI) Mission Olympic Cell (MOC).
Bajrang’s decision to stay at the Cliff Kean Wrestling Club in Michigan was largely driven by the availability of quality sparring partners at the facility, that too in his original men’s freestyle category of 65kg. The grappler has also been impressed by the excellent gym facility and outdoor training activities at the club.
Bajrang’s additional one-month stay at the Michigan camp has been sanctioned at an approximate cost of Rs 11.65 lakh by the MOC.
“All kind of training facilities are available at the club, be it gym or quality sparring partners. The college boys who train here with me are good. I am getting access to everything I need to improve my level,” Bajrang was quoted as saying in a SAI media release.
Bajrang has been training in the USA since December 4 after travelling there with his personal coach Emzarios Bentinidis and physio Dhananjay.
The availability of top-notch sparring partners played a big role in Bajrang seeking the extension.
“The quality of sparring partners here is very good. In India, I normally train with 74kg and 79kg category wrestlers, but here I am getting to train with my own weight category grapplers in 65kg, which is a big advantage.”
Bajrang earned the Tokyo Olympic quota in September 2019 after winning a bronze medal at the World Championships. His last competitive international event was in February 2020 at the Asian Senior Championships in New Delhi.
On his international return, Bajrang said, “I plan my comeback at the Rome ranking series event in March and will follow that up by participating in the Asian Championships in Kazakhstan.”