Indian wrestler Deepak Punia, who has already secured a Olympic berth in the 86-kg category, has been practicing hard under his coach’s supervision with a podium finish in sight, both in the Tokyo Olympics next year and the ongoing Individual Wrestling World Cup.
After a long break induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, Punia is relieved to hit the mat again.
“I was eagerly waiting for a major competition so that we can participate and prepare ourselves for the Olympics. A wrestler cannot live without a wrestling mat. Now, the time has come. I want to give my best in the World Cup. The focus is on the Olympics. Olympics is my main target,” Punia was quoted as saying in an interview conducted by Timesofindia.com.
The ongoing Individual World Cup, which is being held in Belgrade, Syria, is the first international competition the Indian wrestlers are participating in since March.
“I didn’t miss out on the training part in the lockdown period. I was following my schedule like in normal times. The major focus is on the World Cup right now. After a long time, we are all participating in a major tournament like a World Cup and I don’t want to make any mistakes. I am fully prepared. I have worked a lot in some areas. I didn’t go out with friends for enjoyment. I was just focusing on my training. I was also in touch with Sushil bhaisaab (two time Olympic medallist wrestler Sushil Kumar). He has given me motivation and tips ahead of the World Cup,” Deepak added.
Although the World Cup has already started with the Greco-Roman contests on December 12, Punia will be seen in action on Thursday (December 17).
The World Cup is a big tournament. I want to give my hundred percent. I will take it one bout at a time. A medal is definitely on my mind. But the main target is the Olympics,” he said.
Punia is a former junior world champion and a silver medalist at the 2019 World Championships as well. He will be hungry for success in this contest too.