Many believe that star wrestler Bajrang Punia has a major shortcoming in his game when it comes to leg defense, but his personal coach Sujeet Maan feels otherwise. According to the latter, the leg defense looks a bit shaky because of Punia's attacking style, which makes him look a bit vulnerable.
His vulnerability was also visible during Tokyo 2020 as well, where he managed to bag a bronze. In fact, he had been working on that area for quite some time, even with his former coach Shako Bentinidis, where Punia eventually did not show an improvement.
But defending his ward, Maan said, "A lot of people opine that his leg defence is weak but that's not the case. It's a style. In cricket, the aggressive batters go for their shots and in the process, they run the risk of losing their wicket. In Bajrang's case when he plays an attacking game, he appears vulnerable in his leg defence," Maan told PTI in an interview. "It's not that we are not working on his leg defence. We are trying that even if the rivals get hold of his legs, he wriggles out of it with solid defence."
Punia's shortcoming could be attributed to the fact that he wrestled in the mud, in his formative years and has a high stance, which doesn't allow him to have a solid defence. Maan too agreed to it and said, "On the mat you need to compete more on low and middle stance while in the Dangal, the wrestler maintains high stance. Habits are difficult to change, especially when it becomes muscle memory."
But Maan seems to have cracked the code to solidify Punia's defence. "He needs to be aggressive and attack more. The attack is the best defence. The change he needs to make is he should attack but must not end up losing points or fail to score despite taking the risk.
"If he is managing to grab legs of his opponent, he must convert that move into points, that's what we are working on," Maan said.
"This year our main target is Asian Games and if we succeed it would mean that we are at peak."