'Non-recognition' is a 'virtue', is not understood by many. But for Deepak Punia, it worked as a 'miracle', as he 'quietly prepared' for the challenge at the top flight without any 'spotlight' or 'pressure'. "No one recognised me. No one talked to me. At times, I was confused as an official or a coach. No one paid any attention to me. I was away from the spotlight. Everyone talked about Bajrang bhai, Vinesh ji and my Guruji (Sushil Kumar). That actually helped. It gave me strength from within to do something like them," Deepak told Republic TV after his return from World Championship.
"I used to hear what people say about them and felt proud of my "Guruji" (Sushil Kumar).. he is recognised, loved and praised by everyone wherever he goes. And he always believes in me and my ability. It was an hour to travel along with him in a competition that he was participating in. Before leaving he had told me, & I remember; "Mujhe mile na mile, tera medal to pakka hi hai".. I took it as a 'joke' but never thought it would actually come true," Deepak said. Sushil had lost in the first or qualifying round while his ward Deepak went on to win a silver, which no one else in the contingent could. "Now I dedicate this medal to Guruji Mahabali Satpal ji and Sushil Pehewalnji. I completely owe them this medal," he added.
Sushil heaped high praises on his ward Deepak; "Didn't I tell you all... Deepak is the next big thing in wrestling. It's just a beginning for him. He will win many medals and laurels for the country." Talking of his ward, Mahabali Satpal said: "I had spotted his talent at the age of 12 and it's a proud feeling my institute Chhatrashal Stadium has now produced a Gold (Sushil) and two silver (Amit Dahiya in 2013 & Deepak in 2019) medallists. Now our focus turns to the 2020 Olympics."