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Wrestling

Wrestler Bajrang Punia injured 28 days before Tokyo Olympics

India's ace wrestler who is being considered as a medal hope for Tokyo Olympics has injured himself taking part in a wrestling tournament in Russia.

Bajrang Punia
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Bajrang Punia (Source: United World Wrestling)

By

Md Imtiaz

Updated: 25 Jun 2021 4:39 PM GMT

Indian ace men's wrestler Bajrang Punia who is in Russia to train ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, has injured himself while taking part at the Ali Aliev Memorial wrestling tournament in Kaspiysk, Russia. The news comes as a matter of concern for Olympics-bound athlete just 28 days ahead of the Games in Tokyo.

Bajrang suffered an injury to his right knee semifinal encounter against Abdulmazhid Kudiev of Russia which got forfeited when the Indian was down by 0-4. The severity of the injury is yet to be known.

Bajrang, who is one the medal-hopefuls at the Tokyo Olympics in the 65kg category of men's wrestling, had smooth sail into the semifinal of the tournament where he took on Russian wrestlers one after another. He started by defeating Abdusalamov of Russia by 10-0, followed it up in the pre-quarterfinals with a 6-1 victory over Abdulrashid Saidulaev of Russia. In the quarters, he defeated Daulet Niyazbekov of Uzbekistan by 9-0. Niyazbekov is the 2019 World Championships silver medallist who had defeated Bajrang in the semifinal


During the Asian Championship in Almaty In May, Punia had injured his elbow in his semi-final match and withdrew from the final against Japanese Takuto Otoguru.

The United World Wrestling(UWW) has announced seeding for the Tokyo Olympics in different weight categories of men's freestyle. India's top hope for the Olympic medal in Tokyo, Bajrang, is seeded second in the 65kg weight category by UWW behind the top-seeded Russian Gadzhimurad Rashidov.

Bajrang chosen Russia for his training because of two reasons -- first, he will get a chance to spar with experienced and champion wrestlers there, and second, because of the quarantine rules of Poland, where the rest of the Indian team is based.





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