"I will try my best to win an Olympic gold medal and make the nation proud," says Deepak Punia (Exclusive)
- In an exclusive conversation, Deepak Punia talked about his recent performances, preparation for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics 2020 and more.
In the World Wrestling Championships 2019, after his impressive performance in the initial matches and the semifinal, Deepak Punia was all set to face Iran's Hassan Yazdini in the final of the 86kg category. Deepak had already secured an Olympic berth with his exploits in the tournament and a gold medal would have been a cherry on top of the cake, albeit Deepak's gold medal hopes came crashing down as an injury halted him.
Owing to an injury to his left foot, the wrestler had to pull out of the scheduled final. Previously, Deepak had been in tremendous touch as he had won a gold medal in the Junior World Championships in Talinn, Estonia. He became the first Indian in 18 years to win a gold medal at the Junior World Championships. In 2016, Deepak had won the Cadet World Championship which was followed by a silver medal in Slovakia.
Deepak will be carrying all the hopes of the nation when he steps onto the mat at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. In an exclusive conversation with Sportskeeda, Deepak Punia talked about his recent performances, his preparations and the upcoming Olympics.
Q. Are you satisfied with your performance in the Asian Championships?
No, I'm not completely satisfied with my performance. I could've done better but in the last 10 days, I could not practice due to an injury.
Q. What role has Sushil Kumar played in your career?
I've grown up watching Sushil Ji and he has always supported me. He always shares his experience and insights about how to play with the wrestlers from other countries, this always benefits us.
Q. How are you preparing for the Tokyo Olympics?
The Olympic preparations are going good and are in full flow. We'll try our best to bring an Olympic gold medal for the nation.
Q. What is your training routine?
The day to day training schedule is made by the coaches. Although, we practice for four hours in the morning and four hours in the evening which includes mat practice and fitness training.
Q. Diet plays a really important part in a wrestler's career due to the weight categories, what kind of diet do you take?
Yes, the diet is very important for a player. Our nutritionist tells us about the diet and we follow it strictly. I love eating rotis but we've to take all kinds of required diets to keep ourselves fit.
Q. Describe the journey of the 2019 Junior World Wrestling Championship where you won a gold medal?
In 2018, I won a silver medal but this time, I had decided that I have to win a gold medal. The hardwork of the coaches and the whole team ensured that I was successful in winning a gold medal after 18 years.
Q. Is there any performance pressure with the nation watching you keenly?
No, there is no pressure as such. The mindset is to work hard and win a medal for the country. We need love and blessings from the people of the country. This time, we'll target the maximum number of medals and I'll try my best to win an Olympic gold medal and make the nation proud.Published 07 Mar 2020, 11:06 IST