Just like many other Tokyo Olympics- hopeful, Gaurav Baliyan too has moved to Karnataka to resume his training. He has joined Bajrang Punia, Jitender and Pooja Dhanda at Inspire Institute of Sports (IIS). The Uttar Pradesh wrestler, says, “It is a good environment here (IIS). There are good facilities and the weather too is good. It is always pleasant unlike in UP”.
Baliyan is one of the contenders for the 74kg weight category who is vying for the Tokyo Games. He is bidding his chances against the likes of Asian Championship silver medallist Jitender, two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar, 2015 world medallist Narsingh Yadav and twice Asian Championships medallist Parveen Rana. To tackle the heavyweights, the 18-year-old will need all the help he can get. And in this case, he has got a helping hand from world medallist Bajrang Punia.
“He helps me a lot. During training, when I make mistakes in my moves, he would point it out to me. He is also helping me learn new techniques,” the Asian championship silver medallist told WrestlingTV from Vijaynagar.
Here is an excerpt of his interview
WrestlingTV: How was your time during the lockdown and when did you go to IIS?
Baliyan: I trained at my local akhada in Muzzafarnagar during the lockdown. It was usually individual training only. Then when unlock began, I came here. It has been 15-20 days now. I was put under quarantine before I resumed training.
WrestlingTV: What is your training schedule like?
Baliyan: In the morning it is usually running and other cardio training and in evening mat workout. But it is not always the same. The coaches decide what will the plan be for each day.
WrestlingTV: So, the world championships are being held in December, have you chalked out a plan for it?
Baliyan: I was not sure until I arrived at IIS. Now that I know it, I have roughly made plans in my mind. But will discuss with the coaches and make a proper plan for it.
WrestlingTV: What are your thoughts on the 74kg weight category? Do you think it has become more challenging with Narsingh’s comeback?
Baliyan: Everybody is a champion outside the mat, however, matches are not decided like that. Once we step on the mat is when we truly prove our mettle.