How could I come back without a medal from Tokyo, says Punia

How could I come back without a medal from Tokyo, says Punia
© Provided by Hindustan Times HTLS 2021: How could I come back without a medal from Tokyo, says Bajrang Punia (HINDUSTAN TIMES)

For Bajrang Punia, the choice was stark: remove the protective tape and risk surgery or risk losing an Olympic medal. He did what he did because for Punia life is about what you do in those six minutes on the mat.

Having lost the semi-final, Punia opted to take the tape off in the Olympics bronze medal fight against Kazakhstan’s Daulet Niyazbekov. “I thought if I have to go for surgery, so be it but I could not let this opportunity go,” he said.

“I have everything: gold at the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and three medals at the world championships. I was preparing only to win gold (in Tokyo) but the injury happened. Doctors told me that if I remove the tape and fight, I might need surgery. People will say, ‘why take a chance, there is the 2024 Paris Olympics.’ But I was preparing for Tokyo, how could I come back without a medal?”

So, Punia fought without caring for the injury. “Who has seen 2024? For me the moment was in Tokyo. We work hard for three or four years only for the Olympics. I have beaten so many wrestlers to come this far and who knows how things will change in future.”

The Olympic bronze medallist was speaking at the HT Leadership Summit on Saturday. Punia shared the stage with Paralympics medallists Avani Lekhara and Sumit Antil. Their conversation with television journalist Shivani Gupta summed up the new age Indian athlete: one for whom participation is not the most important thing, winning is.

“Now, our athletes are not satisfied with just medals, they want to win gold medals, set world records. Barriers have been broken,” said Punia.

Lekhara is proof of that. Shooting gave her life a purpose after being bedridden for six months so Lekhara went to Tokyo wanting it all. “I wanted to achieve everything in Tokyo—gold medals, world record, Paralympic record. I was walking with my coach (Suma Shirur) before my match and she told me, ‘’just give your best and don’t take so much pressure of winning and smashing all records,’” said the 20-year-old shooter who has been in a wheel-chair after a road accident.

In Tokyo, Lekhara was on fire in the 10m air rifle standing SH1 event. She won gold with a Paralympic record of 249.6, a score which equalled the world record. Enough to make her happy, right? Well, almost. “The last shot was 9.9. I was disappointed despite a gold and a world record score,” she said.

Sitting beside her was Antil, a serial world record breaker in his Paralympic javelin event. In Tokyo, Antil toyed with the field, breaking his record five times on his way to gold with a throw of 68.55m.

“When I started javelin, the first thing I asked my coach was, “what was the world record.” He was surprised and told me to not think that far. Gradually, I realised how difficult it was to improve on your throw and it takes a lot of hard work, training, strength and technique,” he said. Having been a wrestler before his life altering accident—he was hit by a tractor and had to have a leg amputated—helped, said Antil. “I had strength. The only thing I needed was technique.”

With a prosthetic leg, Antil said he started working out at home and “stumbled upon a javelin one day.” Using prosthesis means Antil finds it difficult to generate power from the run-up. Also, the prosthetic leg has to be changed regularly. Getting the body to adjust to a new one takes time and is painful. “I am using one from March and I am still not quite used to it. There are chances of injury,” he said.

Punia, a former world No. 1 in the 65kg, said Indians can win multiple Olympic medals but only if they are allowed “to play freely without any pressure.”

He may not like living on the edge but when it comes to his bouts, it is full of tense moments and glorious comebacks.

“Pata nahin kya hota hai, jab tak opponent kuch points score na kar le, wrestling shuru nahin kar pata (Don’t know what happens. Till the point my opponents score, I can’t begin my wrestling,” said Punia.

“The coach says control the bout from start but that doesn’t happen. My game is of stamina and to fight for six minutes. Till the last second anything can happen in wrestling and I go by that policy.”


Sign on to read the HT ePaper

News Related


Chiefs win coin toss, game with TD per postseason OT rules

The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Buffalo Bills 42-36 in overtime on Sunday night to advance to the AFC championship game. © Provided by The Canadian Press The Chiefs won ... Read more »

Shooting At A House Party Near Los Angeles Kills 4, Injures 1

© Provided by News18 Shooting At A House Party Near Los Angeles Kills 4, Injures 1 Multiple shooters opened fire at a house party in Inglewood in California’s Los Angeles ... Read more »

Stocks in news: RIL, Vodafone Idea, ICICI Bank, YES Bank and more

© Provided by Business Today Stocks in news: RIL, Vodafone Idea, ICICI Bank, YES Bank and more The Indian equity market is likely to open lower today as SGX Nifty ... Read more »

Sania-Ram pair battles into Australian Open quarterfinals

© Provided by The Times of India Sania Mirza and American Rajeev Ram worked their way past the tricky Aussie-Dutch pairing of Ellen Perez and Matwe Middlekoop 7-6 (8-6), 6-4 ... Read more »

Nifty may regain 18000 if it breaches 17777, eyes on US Fed, Union Budget; check top stocks to buy

© Provided by The Financial Express FIIs were net sellers to the tune of nearly Rs 3000 cr over just five trading sessions which is a major concern in the ... Read more »

Punjab Assembly Polls: Filing of nomination to begin from January 25, last date of withdrawal on February 4

© Provided by Zee News Chandigarh: Chief Electoral Officer of Punjab Dr S Karuna Raju has said that the filing of nomination papers for the upcoming Vidhan Sabha 2022 elections ... Read more »

UAE says it intercepts two ballistic missiles over Abu Dhabi

© Provided by The Financial Express No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. (Representational image: Reuters) The United Arab Emirates intercepted two ballistic missiles targeting Abu Dhabi early Monday, ... Read more »

Deepak Chahar Got Emotional After India's ODI Defeat Against South Africa and Everyone Felt That

© Provided by News18 Deepak Chahar Got Emotional After India’s ODI Defeat Against South Africa and Everyone Felt That Deepak Chahar’s late fireworks with the bat couldn’t help India prevent ... Read more »

News updates from HT: US advises citizens against travel to Russia and all the latest news

© Provided by Hindustan Times Members of Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Forces, volunteer military units of the Armed Forces, train in a city park in Kyiv, Ukraine. (AP) Here are today’s ... Read more »

Covid Vax Status, Infection Rates Suggest Pandemic Might Soon Become Endemic: AIIMS Doctor

© Provided by News18 Covid Vax Status, Infection Rates Suggest Pandemic Might Soon Become Endemic: AIIMS Doctor The Covid-19 pandemic might be heading towards an endemic stage, a senior epidemiologist ... Read more »

Nifty below 17500 may fall up to 17000, deploy Iron Butterfly strategy; Bank Nifty may hit 38600 this week

By Rajesh Palviya NSE Nifty 50 index closed at 17,617 with a loss of 639 points on a weekly basis last week. On the weekly chart, the index has formed ... Read more »

'Would Like to Give Deepak More Games': India Head Coach Rahul Dravid Impressed With Chahar's All-round Abilities

© Provided by News18 ‘Would Like to Give Deepak More Games’: India Head Coach Rahul Dravid Impressed With Chahar’s All-round Abilities India head coach Rahul Dravid wants to add depth ... Read more »

Doncic, Porzingis lead Mavericks past Grizzlies 104-91

DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic had 37 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists and Kristaps Porzingis had 15 points, eight rebounds and a season-best six blocks as the Dallas Mavericks ... Read more »

Horoscope Today, Jan 24, 2022: Check astrological predictions for Cancer, Virgo, Leo, Aries and other zodiac signs here

© Provided by Jagran English New Delhi | Jagran Lifestyle Desk: If you are wondering how your day will be then scroll down below and have a look at your ... Read more »

Bengaluru FC hold FC Goa 1-1 in ISL match

© Provided by Mid-Day The Indian Super League tie between Bengaluru FC and FC Goa ended in a 1-1 draw at the GMC Athletic Stadium here on Sunday. Dylan Fox ... Read more »

Priyanka Vadra's women-centric campaign long shot in UP. BJP must look at its male hierarchy

© Provided by The Print Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra must have brought many smiles in the opposition camp on Saturday when she clarified that she wasn’t the chief ... Read more »

Delhi's air quality in ‘poor' category as temp expected to dip

© Provided by Hindustan Times Cold winter morning in New Delhi. (PTI) NEW DELHI: Delhi’s air quality was in the “poor” category on Monday morning as the mercury was likely ... Read more »

Manfred Thierry Mugler, legendary French designer, dies at 73

French designer Manfred Thierry Mugler, who reigned over the fashion industry in the 1980s, died on Sunday at the age of 73. His agent Jean-Baptiste Rougeot revealed that Mugler passed ... Read more »

After witnessing record rainfall in 122 years, Delhi might not see fresh spell of showers till Jan 29: IMD

© Provided by Jagran English New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: After receiving record rainfall in the first three weeks of January, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said that ... Read more »

Uttarakhand schools, anganwadi centres to stay closed till Jan 31 as state govt extends COVID-19 restrictions

© Provided by Jagran English New Delhi | Jagran Education Desk: Uttarakhand Govt extends COVID restrictions in the state till January 31, 2022. Owing to this, all Anganwadi Centres and educational ... Read more »

Tennis-Collins wins gruelling Mertens clash to reach quarter-finals

© Reuters/MORGAN SETTE Australian Open By Ian Ransom MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Danielle Collins won a battle of attrition in scorching heat to overhaul Elise Mertens 4-6 6-4 6-4 and book ... Read more »

Tennis-Australian Open day eight

© Reuters/MORGAN SETTE Australian Open MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Highlights of the eighth day of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Monday, all times local (GMT +11): 1405 COLLINS FIGHTS ... Read more »

BTS: V shares inspiration behind his go-to dance move but later deletes it; Sherlock ARMY finds the origin of his killer moves

© Provided by BTS member V has mastered the art of Instagram. He recently shared the origin of a signature dance move that he does but later deleted the ... Read more »

Lara Dutta reveals the reason behind her break from films: Got tired of playing hero's girlfriend or wife

© Provided by Pinkvilla Lara Dutta is an actress who had won hearts with her stunning beauty and impeccable acting prowess. While she has always been a treat to watch ... Read more »

Penguins rally to beat Jets 3-2 in SO

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Kasperi Kapanen and Jeff Carter scored nine seconds apart in the third period to erase a two-goal deficit and Sidney Crosby scored the only goal of the ... Read more »

Chiefs rally past Buffalo 42-36 in OT in wild playoff game

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes found Travis Kelce in the corner of the end zone from 8 yards early in overtime, and the Kansas City Chiefs rallied to ... Read more »

Key bond market deals: RIL, LIC Housing Finance, Tata Motors Finance

© Provided by CNBCTV18 Here’s a look at the key bond market deals on Monday. Non-Convertible Debentures: LIC Housing Finance to raise at least INR 500 crore via reissue of ... Read more »

How to apply for E-Shram portal online

How to apply for E-Shram portal online The E-Shram portal was launched by the Ministry of Labour and Employment under the Government of India to form a database of workers ... Read more »

'We didn't play smart cricket' - Dravid admits India given 'eye-opener'

For India coach Rahul Dravid, the ODI series against South Africa was an “eye-opener”. India lost the series 3-0 and Dravid felt it was “poor shots” that cost them the ... Read more »

Anushka Sharma, Virat Kohli's daughter Vamika first pics leaked. Delete them, say fans

On Sunday, January 23, as Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team played against South Africa at Cape Town, his wife Anushka Sharma and daughter Vamika cheered for him from the stands. ... Read more »

IPL 2022 Auction: Deepak Chahar, Devdutt Padikkal to Ishan Kishan, Shardul Thakur; Stars Rohit Sharma's Mumbai Indians (MI) Could Target

© Ankit Banerjee | Sports Desk Mumbai Indians Could Buy – IPL 2022 Auction Mumbai: With a remaining purse of Rs 48 Cr, Mumbai Indians would enter the auction ... Read more »

Min temperatures likely to fall in northwest India

© Provided by Hindustan Times A boy clears out snow from atop a vehicle after snowfall in Kashmir. (AFP) NEW DELHI: Minimum temperatures were expected to fall by 4-6 degrees ... Read more »

UP Polls: SP Allots Tickets to At Least 10 More Muslim Candidates in Phase 2, But Silently

© Provided by News18 UP Polls: SP Allots Tickets to At Least 10 More Muslim Candidates in Phase 2, But Silently After giving tickets to 13 Muslims in Phase 1 ... Read more »

Tata Tiago, Tigor, Altroz, Nexon, Harrier Safari launched in Bhutan

Tata Tiago Tigor Altroz Nexon Harrier Safari Bhutan Tata Motors has launched its range of passenger vehicles in Bhutan in partnership with Samden Vehicles Pvt Ltd., that is the authorised ... Read more »

Business maven Ratan Tata gets 'Assam Baibhav Award'

© Provided by The Statesman Business maven Ratan Tata gets ‘Assam Baibhav Award’ Industrialist Ratan Tata has been honoured with the ‘Assam Baibhav Award’ for 2021 by the Assam Government. ... Read more »

'Live by the sword, die by the sword': Gambhir dissects Pant's 'rash' batting approach, says 'he's not like Virat Kohli'

Rishabh Pant has often come under the scanner for rash dismissals and not putting a price on his wicket. The 24-year-old dasher wears his heart on his sleeve while batting ... Read more »

Grundstrom lifts Kings to 3-2 win over Devils

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Carl Grundstrom scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period and Cal Petersen made 23 saves to lift the Los Angeles Kings to a 3-2 ... Read more »

Canada's Brooke Henderson finishes 2nd at LPGA opener with bogey-free final round

ORLANDO, Fla. — A bogey-free final round saw Canada’s Brooke Henderson finish second at the season-opening Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions on Sunday. © Provided by The Canadian Press ... Read more »

Antonio Brown trolls Buccaneers on Twitter after team's loss to Rams in NFC divisional round

Antonio Brown won’t be receiving a Super Bowl ring following the 2021 season. And neither will anyone on the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay lost to the Rams 30-27 in the divisional ... Read more »

England level T20 series with one-run win over hosts West Indies after 28-run last over

© Provided by Zee News England held their nerve in the face of a late assault by Akeal Hosein and Romario Shepherd to secure a one-run victory over the West ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic