Bajrang Punia out of World Wrestling Championships

Olympic bronze medallist Bajrang Punia will not compete in the upcoming wrestling World Championships. He has been advised a six-week rehabilitation to treat the ligament tear he suffered in his right knee in the run-up to the Tokyo Games.

Braving odds: Despite nursing as knee injury, India’s Bajrang Punia managed to clinch the bronze medal in the men’s freestyle 65kg category.   -  AP

Olympic bronze medallist Bajrang Punia will not compete in the upcoming wrestling World Championships. He will undergo a six-week rehabilitation to treat the ligament tear. He picked up the injury just about a month before the Olympics, at the Ali Aliev Tournament in Russia, and had to forfeit a match because of that.

The World Championships will be held in Oslo, Norway, from October 2-10, and Bajrang will not begin his mat training until his rehabilitation programme is over.

Bajrang recently underwent an MRI scan to know the extent of the injury and consulted Dr Dinshaw Pardiwala, who heads the Centre for Sports Medicine at Mumbai's Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital.

"It's a ligament tear, and I have been asked to follow a rehabilitation programme for six weeks by Dr Dinshaw. I won't be able to compete at the World Championship," Bajrang told PTI.

Indian wrestlers at Tokyo Olympics: A bittersweet experience  

"The Worlds was the only major championship in the calendar for this year. I don't see myself competing in any other tournament this season," he added.

Bronze medallist Bajrang: 'Staying away from mat due to knee injury affected my performance'  

"Since it was my first Olympics and I had a dream to win an Olympic medal, I competed through pain in Tokyo. I had to do it." Bajrang said.

"I am doing it [rehabilitation] myself in Sonepat. Dr. Dinshaw has advised a few exercises that I am doing every day now in the gym. The mat-training time will also go into the rehab," he said.

Fresh contracts

The 27-year-old said he wants to continue with his Georgian coach Shako Bentinidis, who has now left for home since the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is yet to offer him a fresh contract.

The WFI will have a meeting with the wrestlers to gather feedback regarding all the foreign coaches involved with the Indian wrestlers before deciding on their fresh contracts.

While Bajrang trained with Bentinidis, Olympic silver medallist Ravi Dahiya's personal coach was Russia's Kamal Malikov.

Deepak Punia's coach was Russia's Murad Gaidarov, who was expelled from Tokyo for assaulting the referee.

The WFI had then terminated the services of Gaidarov.

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