With the resumption of training, in order to improve his agility, reflexes as well as feet and body movement on the mat, India’s star wrestler and a huge medal prospect at the Tokyo Olympics, Bajrang Punia, has taken to boxing to rev up his preparations.
The 26-year-old is keen on improving his skills for sporting extravaganza, and giving him company in this “innovative” training regimen is the silver medallist at the 2020 Asian Wrestling Championships in the 74kg category, Jitender Kinha.
Since Monday, both elite athletes Jitnder and Bajrang reunited with their Georgian wrestling coach Shako Bentinidis. After getting required clearances from the Georgian and Indian governments, Shako had returned to India last month.
Following the safety protocols for the first seven days, he was in isolation at a hotel in the Capital. He was later again put in quarantine when he flew to Vijyanagar. And from the next week onwards, Shako will begin training Bajrang and Jitender for the Olympics.
Bajrang about his training
“What we are trying to achieve through these boxing sessions is to improve our ability to move quickly with ease, better our hand-eye coordination, strengthen our mental agility and alertness. So far, it has been great to practice with the coach,” Bajrang said.
Currently, Bajrang and Jitender have been subjected to several novel ways of practice as they training at the Inspire Institute of Sports (IIS) in Vijayanagar (Bellary district), Karnataka, under boxing coach Ronald Simms, who is training them.
“In wrestling, movement plays a crucial role and these boxing lessons will help us a great deal. It is making us push past our limits,” Jitender chipped in. “The IIS is located in a hilly area. So we go for long runs and sprints. The challenge is to keep ourselves in top shape so that whenever any competition takes place, we will be ready to put our best foot forward.”
While Jitender is yet to qualify, Bajrang has already clinched quota for the Olympics in the 65kg freestyle category.