Right here’s what Bajrang Punia’s equally audacious wrestling spouse Sangeetha advised him after a head damage wouldn’t cease dripping blood and wanted bandaging on the latest World Championships: “Wo boli koi nai damage hui hai, iska patti karvaake, dobara se bronze ke liye khelo.” The blood isn’t any biggie, strap on some gauze and go for the bronze, he remembers on his return from a stupendous 4th World’s medal.
Bravado manifesting to work like boldness, has been central to Bajrang Punia’s large match outings all these years. After 1 Olympic medal and 4 from the World Championships, bravado ceases sounding like a reckless factor he marinates his bulk in, when he’s tossed into glazing fireplace. However on the matter of blood, Bajrang and Sangeeta – have made cavalier-morphing-to-courageous into one proper artwork kind.
It ought to have been a gold, but it surely may have been no medal additionally – such was his propensity to leak factors on a weak leg protection, and botch a chance the place some prime names from Russia, Belarus and his Japanese nemesis have been absent. However it was the neon inexperienced taped face – his bulging eyes framed by it, extra like – that churned stomachs. Not Sangeeta’s, who advised Bajrang to get on with the job at hand, and nail the out there medal in repechage, unheeding of blood.
Bajrang Punia 𝙠𝙤 𝙧𝙤𝙠𝙣𝙖 𝙢𝙪𝙨𝙝𝙠𝙞𝙡 𝙝𝙞 𝙣𝙖𝙝𝙞, 𝙣𝙖𝙢𝙪𝙢-𝙆𝙄𝙉𝙂 𝙝𝙖𝙞! 👑
The Indian wrestler put up a splendid present to win his fourth Wrestling Worlds medal a number of days again. 🤼♂️
— Olympic Khel (@OlympicKhel) September 20, 2022
“Sangeeta motivated me lots this time. Couldn’t actually speak to household in between bouts. However Sangeeta was with me,” he says. “Ek baar mann tha ki zyada reduce lag rahaa hai toh predominant na khelu. However unhone (Sangeeta) iss time mein saath diya. (At one level I believed I received’t play if it damage an excessive amount of however she helped). Iss medal mein unka kaafi yogdaan rahaa tha… Kyunki nai khelta toh medal ni jeet paata.” She performed an enormous position in pushing him to plod on after the medal.
She’s been a great sounding board in coaching too – blunt in stating his errors, however all the time encouraging. “She’s additionally a wrestler, an athlete. So we perceive one another’s recreation and may level out errors frankly. Once I’m enjoying, I received’t know what the opponent is attempting or what errors are taking place. Later we are able to watch movies. However Sangeeta would inform me level to level, and subsequent bout I may keep away from these and enhance,” he provides.
His personal derring-do is considerably legendary after the Olympics medal was secured after dramatically flinging off the tape holding collectively his knee. However he clinically assessed the bleeding head this time – neatly separating the hysterics that the sight of blood may cause somebody watching from exterior, with the precise discomfort the bleeder feels (not a lot, he burdened) when heading right into a battle.
“Damage hona hai, recreation mein toh chalti rahegi. (It occurs in sport). At Olympics once I obtained the knee damage, I had thought surgical procedure karvaa lunga, what’s the massive deal. Many gamers have surgical procedures. Accidents occur in coaching additionally. However Olympics was my life’s largest match.” At Belgrade, he knew all of the dripping blood wanted was stemming. Yahape bhi reduce lag rha hai. Toh theeke. Reduce lagne se zyada se zyada khoon nikal jaega. Do din baad, dus din baad wo theek ho jaega. Medal pehle zaroori hai.” The reduce would inevitably heal in 8-10 days, he reasoned. The medal wanted pocketing. Sangeeta seconded him.
World’s & Bajrang’s varied wars
Changing into the primary Indian with 4 medals from World Championships over the past decade isn’t any imply feat – by no means thoughts the gold isn’t but trapped down. 2013, when he first received bronze, set off a practice: beginning with a loss to a Bulgarian. He remembers it like yesterday; additionally as a result of final week panned out just like that.
“2013. Greatest second. I used to be solely 18-19. Thought if I received so younger I may undoubtedly win extra medals for the nation. The 2013 medal gave me the boldness of that. I had misplaced first bout to Bulgaria. Didn’t suppose he would make last and I might get the repechage alternative,” he remembers of the 61 kg division then.
World’s medals have been fairly uncommon again then. “We had solely 5-6 world medals in Indian historical past. Ye kaha jaega..Stored considering he ll lose subsequent spherical, then subsequent, then subsequent. Didn’t count on him to make finals as a result of there was 2012 silver medallist from Olympics and Mongolians. However when he reached last, I drubbed subsequent 2-3 wrestlers simply. Had I stored considering that I received’t have the ability to win… I wouldn’t have. My associates and coaches then motivated me that I may win as a result of I had labored so arduous. I obtained that encouragement. I couldn’t imagine I had a world Championships medal.”
4️⃣th Worlds medal for @BajrangPunia 🤼♂️
Our Tokyo Olympics BRONZE medalist has bagged a BRONZE🥉 once more. This time on the Wrestling World Championships (FS 65kg) in Belgrade🤩
His World Championships CV now:
— SAI Media (@Media_SAI) September 18, 2022
It took one other 5 years to get a shot in 65kg. He nurses the bitterness of that misplaced last, like a great roiling remorse. It retains him sharp. “2018 silver. I’ll always remember. I may’ve been champion in opposition to Japanese who’s sitting with the Olympic title in 2021,” he says correctly salty.
The Japanese stored stopping for frivolous causes with medical timeouts, Bajrang reckons. “Wrestling solely stops in case you are bleeding or there’s main damage! Can’t complain that ankle is hurting… He stored stopping and resuming, stopping and resuming and sat down claiming his ankle damage. So in 2018 last, what ought to have been a 6 minute battle changed into a 10-12 min bout. He took relaxation when he obtained drained and stored calling docs to are inclined to ankle and stopping. It can all the time damage, I’ll always remember that they made a mistake. It haunts me nonetheless. If referee hadn’t favoured him, end result may have been completely different,” he rants. It’s debatable if solely the stoppages broke the Indian’s rhythm, but it surely added to his World Championships litany.
A 12 months later in 2019, Bajrang had official causes to really feel robbed when the officiating desk blatantly leaned in with the native Kazakh grappler in Kazakhstan, merely refusing to award eye-popping fouls, and overtly giving throwdown factors to the Kazakh whereas Bajrang had initiated the throw. That semifinal earns a growl too.
“2019 similar factor occurred. It’s occurred 2-3 occasions in World Championships with me. Semis vs Kazakhstan. We protested to UWW and so they even stated Sorry that it received’t occur once more.. Had I made the finals, may’ve received gold. However end result doesn’t change simply by saying Sorry repeatedly for a poor choice. What’s misplaced is misplaced. I’ll always remember. We work arduous, after which dishonest occurs and that too at prime stage, it’s tough to overlook these items,” he says.
It’s one of many issues – denied legit equity – that pushes him to go cavalier when a second probability medal dangles. Although, his earliest coach Virender from Chhara akhada, traces it again to his childhood. “His father was a wrestler, and mom injected that never-give-up tendency in him. This one time he didn’t make the Haryana squad, he pleaded for a chance. Once I performed him from Delhi, he demolished the sector” the coach remembers. “I don’t suppose he ever believes he’s trailing in any bout until the final second,” he provides.
It’s how he overturned a 0-6 deficit, with factors on a weak leg provided on a platter, by snapping together with his sheer unforgiving energy. “We work arduous for medals. We play for the nation. If now we have gone there representing the nation, then it’s our job to provide our greatest until the final second. Outcomes usually are not in our hand. Working arduous is. We must always not waste even a tiny alternative to win medal, from need of attempting. Nobody ought to say, a participant was despatched and didn’t give his all for the nation, or he may’ve don’t this or that as an alternative to get the medal,” Bajrang says.
Blood may very well be gushing out, or low-cost factors trickling away, Bajrang fancies himself to be a tank that may roll over anybody stopping him from a medal. “0-6, once I play it doesn’t cross my thoughts that rating is 6-0 or 8-0. Solely factor operating by head is to provide it all the things, give my greatest in 6 minutes. I don’t settle for defeat until the tip. Be it 8-0, 9-0 or what ever. I received’t surrender until 6 minutes are over.” It’s simply blood. It can clot. Simply factors on the leg. They may cease. Adrenaline although, is limitless.