Bajrang Punia to feature in eight-man invitational wrestling meet in USA

The 150lb FloWrestling meet will feature two-time world championships medallist James Green among others. Bajrang Punia has been in the USA since December 4.

By Naveen Peter ·

Having skipped the ongoing Individual World Cup to continue his training in the USA, Indian wrestling ace Bajrang Punia will be seen in action at the 150lb FloWrestling invitational meet in Austin, Texas on December 18.

In what will be an eight-man field, the three-time world championships medallist - Bajrang Punia - will face one of NCAA’s top wrestlers, Pat Lugo, in the opening round.

“Almost one year has passed since he competed. It is important to participate in competitions, the results don’t matter,” Bajrang Punia’s personal coach Shako Bentinidis told Hindustan Times.

“We have some good sparring partners here and we are slowly getting into the optimal mode. The main thing for coming to the USA was the training process we have decided on and we will also get a good competition for Punia.”

The US event will also feature the two-time world championships medallist James Green and Jordan Oliver. Bajrang Punia had beaten Jordan Oliver for the gold medal in the Matteo Pellicone Memorial final in January.

Bajrang Punia competed in two competitions this year, the Matteo Pellicone Memorial meet in Italy and the Asian Wrestling Championships in India.

Though the Indian wrestler was showing signs of peaking in time for the Tokyo Olympics, the COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdown and the resulting postponement of the Games saw Bajrang Punia finding it hard to stay on top of his game.

The 26-year-old Punia returned to the mat at the national camp in October. But the lack of quality sparring partners saw him shift his base to the Cliff Keen Wrestling Club, Austin since December 4. The Flowrestling meet will be a fine opportunity for the Indian wrestler to assess his progress.