Bajrang Punia to participate in German Pro League to warm up for Tokyo Olympics

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Bajrang Punia to participate in German Pro League to warm up for Tokyo Olympics

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SportsCafe Desk

01/28/2019

Keeping an eye on the Olympic qualification matches coming up, Bajrang Punia would be taking part in Germany’s Deutsche Ringer Liga, turning up for VFK Schifferstdat, as per reports. Currently, Punia is playing for Punjab Royals in Pro Wrestling League, which is scheduled to end on January 31.

Punia’s first match for VFK Schifferstdat would be in the final against SV Germania Weingarten on February 2. Currently unbeaten in India’s wrestling league so far, Punia could be a huge boost for the German team when would be turning up against Cuba’s Alejandro Valdes Tobier, who was Bajrang’s opponent 2018 World Championships semi-finals, in the 67 kg category.

Speaking about the opportunity Punia said to Scroll in an interview, “It’s a good opportunity for me to test myself. It is a new challenge and the more I learn now, the better it is for me going into the Olympic qualification process.”

Played in a home and away concept, the clash between the two teams would be called a “final”, the second leg of which would be held on February 9. 24-year-old Punia would be the first Indian to participate in the German pro league and this would be his first international competition of the year. His coach Shako Bentinidis sounded very confident about his success.

“Bajrang begins the season with this league and the competition is very high. He has been improving. We were looking for new competition so we decided to head to Germany,” said Bentinidis.

As per the tournament format, after the first leg freestyle of 60 kg, 67 kg, 77 kg, 87 kg and 98 kg categories and Greco-Roman 63 kg, 72 kg, 77 kg, 87 kg and 130 kg categories are done with, the categories would be interchanged between the two styles meaning that Bajrang would have to compete in the 72 kg category next month on February 9. However, Punia sounded unhinged by it.

“I don’t know how I’ll perform in 72 kg. I think the Cuban wrestler will have an upper hand but it’s same day weigh-in so should not be a problem,” he said.

Following the German league, which would goes on for six months with matches being played on weekends, Punia has been scheduled to go to Belarus for the Dan-Kolov tournament, a ranking series competition for the world No 2.

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