Bajrang's secret to success: no mobile phone and movies

Bajrang's secret to success: no mobile phone and movies

Bajrang Punia. PTI File Photo

Bajrang Punia has established himself as the undisputed superstar of Indian wrestling but the road to glory was fraught with temptations which he had to overcome with strong will.

The Commonwealth Games and Asian Games gold medallist and the only Indian grappler to win two World Championship medals, Bajrang kept himself away from a cell phone for seven long years, has never gone for sight seeing during competitions abroad and doesn't even know how a cinema hall looks like.

These are small temptations but Bajrang thinks they can easily distract, so it was necessary to keep a strong check on himself. And the result of that is for everyone to see.

The 24-year-old Bajrang has savoured an extremely successful 2018 season, winning five medals including three at Major championships.

"There are a lot of things I wanted to do but controlled myself. I always wanted to have a cell phone. But When I started playing international events in 2010, Yogi bhai (his mentor Yogeshwar Dutt) advised against it, saying it was a distraction. Even now when he is around, I hide my phone," Bajrang told PTI in a free-wheeling chat.

"He knows that now I have a mobile phone but I never use it in front of him. If he is with me for 10 hours, I will not touch my phone for 10 hours," Bajrang said.

"In 2017, Yogi bhai got busy with his academy and I was mostly training at Bahalgarh Camp, so to keep in touch with him, I had to keep a phone. Now I can watch wrestling videos on my phone but I use it only in absence of Yogi bhai."

When pointed out about his active Twitter handle, he said it’s managed by one of his friends.

Bajrang has travelled to more than 30 countries for competitions and training but his stay in those countries has been restricted to venue, hotel and airport.

"I have never gone for sight-seeing after my competitions abroad. Now Yogi bhai does not travel with me, but I prefer taking rest and concentrate on practice. Even at this year’s CWG and Asian Games, athletes would go out after their bouts but I did not," he said.

"Even at CWG when media found me at the Games Village after winning gold, they asked me why I have not gone out with compatriots. But said I have Asian Games and World Championships approaching, I can’t afford to drop my guard, I have to prepare.

"Now I have understood all this discipline is paramount for an athlete. It has become a habit now. I eat on time, practice on time and sleep on time."

Further he revealed that: "I have never been to a cinema hall. Whatever movies I have watched, I have watched on TV."

Talking about the heart-breaking defeat in the World Championship title clash against Japan’s Takuto Otoguro, Bajrang said he had no option but to digest the result.

"I have to make myself understand and accept it. I have learnt from my mistakes. I was trying for counter-attack, but I could not do it. It was his day and not mine. It was an exciting bout, going up and down. No one knew who was going to win."