Bajrang Punia is one of the legendary wrestlers of India. His head is the weight of the expectations of the whole country. In whichever tournament Bajrang plays, he is expected to win medals and this player also constantly tries to improve his game to live up to the expectations of the country. Bajrang is constantly improving his game and in this sequence he has started resorting to ‘plyometric exercises’. With this type of workout, the athlete tries to increase the strength of his body and bring flexibility. The reason for his renewed energy and enthusiasm is the encouraging results of some of the investigations conducted in the past. The results of tests like Technobody Assessment, Functional Movement Screening, Body Composition Analysis and VO2MAX have helped him strengthen his mindset.
Bajrang had taken a defensive approach in his game due to a knee injury before the Tokyo Olympics. Due to this injury, his mentality had become to defend himself instead of attacking the opponent player. The same was seen in the Commonwealth Games trials where he could beat his rival players after a tough match. A few days later, at the Bolat Turlikhanov Cup in Almaty, he lost his match against Abbos Rakhmonov of Uzbekistan despite being in better shape.
‘I’ll play the old fashioned way’
It was all because of his defensive strategy. It seemed that Bajrang had given his best. Bajrang himself was starting to doubt his own ability. Bajrang said in an interview to news agency PTI-Bhasha, I told my coach that I will play in the old style and adopt an aggressive attitude but my body did not support in Almaty. There was no shortage in my effort, rather I was trying more but the performance and results were not in my favor.
He said, at times, I felt that I would never be able to repeat the great performance of my past. I felt that the capacity of my body had reduced. It seemed that there was something missing in my body and this thing was constantly troubling me mentally.
the best is yet to come
However, it didn’t take long for the veteran wrestler to get over his doubts. He said, now I feel that my best game is yet to come and you will see it. After coming back from Kazakhstan I underwent some medical tests to assess strength, range of motion, body balance, stamina and flexibility on the advice of physio Anand Dubey and the results were excellent. After the test results were good, I was able to do better in practice. There was a mental block which is no longer there.
Bajrang passed through troubled times
The 28-year-old wrestler has taken podium (top three) places in a competition every year for the last five years but that doesn’t matter to him. He said, I was upset, I know that the media was also worried about me (in Russia), but I needed rehabilitation, not the media, at that time. Due to the injury to the right knee, more weight was being placed on the left knee. At that time I did not have any physio and was doing rehabilitation on my own after the Olympics. I trained for 8-10 days and my right knee hurt again. The thought of getting injured again had a bad effect on my mind.
His physio Anand said, “In order to overcome Bajrang’s mental block, it became necessary to get these tests done. He was playing defensively. He was struggling with his pace, if he had played his natural attacking game, his pace would automatically come back. This is his weapon.
‘Feeling a change’
Bajrang said, I am feeling a lot of change in myself now, I am taking an aggressive stand now, now there is no reason to be afraid. Bajrang’s self-confidence has also increased by practicing the indigenous method. He is now practicing in the arena while practicing on the mat under the supervision of his former coach Shako Bentinidis. He said, Shako (Bentinidis) never liked things like suhagi, sit-in meetings. I have been doing this work since childhood. These are important exercises because you need to use power from ankle to head. It’s like doing cardio.
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