Gold at Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov tournament holds a lot of value for me, says Bajrang Punia

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Gold at Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov tournament holds a lot of value for me, says Bajrang Punia

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SportsCafe Desk


After winning a gold medal in the 65 kg freestyle at Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov tournament in Bulgaria, Bajrang Punia has stated that the medal is a valuable one for him as the level of competition was very high. Punia defeated USA's Jordan Olivier in the summit clash of the tournament. 

Punia managed to clinch his fifth gold medal in the sixth international tournament that he played of late. The 25-year-old Indian got the better of Oliver in the 65 kg freestyle category at the Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov International wrestling tournament in Ruse, Bulgaria. He had a comfortable outing in the finals against the USA wrestler by winning the bout 12-3. However, Punia is of the opinion that the competition was very tough in the category during the entire event. 

“The competition was very tough; therefore, the gold holds a lot of value for me,” Punia told TOI.

“Till now, my performance in 2019 has been good and I am keen on maintaining that. That’s why I am training hard – so that I can repeat what I did in 2018. In 2019, we have the all-important World Championship. But before that there is the Asian Championship. The World Championship is very important for me because it is the qualification tournament for the 2020 Olympics. A medal in the World Championship will help me qualify for the Olympics. That’s why I am making sure there are no shortcomings in my preparations.”

In the women’s category, Vinesh Phogat managed only a silver medal in the 53kg category after losing  2-9 to China’s Qiaun Pang in the final. This is a higher weight category for Phogat as she was earlier participating in the 50 kg event.

“In order to lower the risk of injuries and remain in wrestling for a longer period. I have to work on my upper body strength as my opponents are stronger,” explained Phogat. 

“I have to know my opponents (in the 53kg weight category) and how they wrestle, their technique, their style, the moves they use often. That will be very important and that is why I participated in this tournament.”

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