Tokyo-bound wrestler Bajrang Punia has reached Russia for his final lap of preparations ahead of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. The three-time world champion and one of India’s biggest medal prospects in the upcoming event will skip the upcoming world ranking series in Warsaw that begins on June 8.
Tokyo-bound Indian wrestlers are currently stationed in Warsaw, Poland for the World Ranking Series. However, three-time world champion Bajrang Punia has not joined the rest of the squad and will skip the upcoming event; rather, he has travelled to Russia to complete his preparations ahead of the quadrennial event.
Bajrang Punia - one of India’s medal hopes at the Olympics, has chosen Russia over other countries for a couple of reasons. First, he would get an opportunity to spar with experienced and world champions and second, because of the quarantine rules. The mandatory quarantine period in Poland is 14 days, while there’s no need for quarantine in Russia if someone produces a negative Covid-19 report.
"In Poland, you had to quarantine for 14 days which is a long time for me. In Russia, you need not quarantine if you have tested negative for COVID-19," said Bajrang Punia, during an interaction with the SAI (Sports Authority of India).
While some of the Indian wrestlers will stay back and continue their preparations in Poland, 2018 Asian Games gold medallist Vinesh Phogat will go back to his training base in Budapest, Hungary, after the world ranking series is over. Sonam Malik and Seema Bisla will also miss the upcoming event owing to injuries.