“Ab Ke Goli thodi na maarenga” (No one is going to shoot me), Deepak Punia says with a certain degree of confident on his chances for the Asian Wrestling Championships in New Delhi. Firm favourite for the 86kg freestyle crown, Deepak is more keen on his skills for the ultimate challenge of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. He has already booked a ticket to Tokyo.
Having said it, the Haryana wrestler is also not taking his immediate challenge lightly, though he full of confidence following a training stint in Russia. “I went to Russia because there I could practice with new partners. The Russian wrestlers are good with ground wrestling and leg defence. They helped me to improve it and also taught me skills,” Deepak told WrestlingTV in an exclusive interview.
“Coach keeps advising me to take one game at a time. All my training and preparations are for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Asian Wrestling Championships is a good competition to test my skills,” said Deepak.
A World Championships semi-finals appearance in Nur-Sultan had earned him a place in the Olympics, but the grappler and his Russian coach Murad Gaidov are well aware of what it takes to be on the Olympics podium. What he has gained from training with the 2008 Olympic silver medallist Gaidov will be put to test in Delhi next week.
Deepak answered questions about his training, prospects and mission Olympics from the Wrestling Federation of India camp at Delhi’s Chhatarsal Stadium in a candid manner. Here are the exerts:
Wrestling TV: What are your weakness’ which you need to work on?
Deepak Punia: I have attacking gameplay and therefore need to work on my defense. During my visit to Russia, I worked a lot on leg defense and ground wrestling.
Wrestling TV: How much pressure to perform in front of the home crowd?
Deepak Punia: There is no pressure. It is just a competition and will give my best. Will use the home crowd’s energy to boost confidence.
Wrestling TV: What plans for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics?
Deepak Punia: All my preparations are for the Olympics. I want to win a gold in Tokyo and therefore will be participating in various competitions to test my skills.
Wrestling TV: Which competition are you eyeing after the Asian Wrestling Championships?
Deepak Punia: Coach will decide which tournament I should go to. He will plan it after the Asian Championships.