CHENNAI: Wrestler Bajrang Punia, one of India's biggest medal prospects at the upcoming Tokyo
Games, injured his right knee while competing in the semifinal of the Ali Aliyev tournament in Russia on Friday. He is expected to undergo a few tests in the days to come to ascertain the extent of the injury.
"He was doing brilliantly and this happened in the semifinal. I don't know the exact status but he was walking all alone when we reached the hotel," Shako Bentinidis, Bajrang's Georgian coach, told The New Indian Express.
The Haryana wrestler had skipped Poland Open and preferred to train in Russia ahead of the Olympics, which is now less than a month away.
"He will undergo a few tests. We will know the exact status after the tests. I can only comment on it after getting the test results," added the coach.
Earlier, the 65kg wrestler defeated Russia's Abdulrashid Sadulaev 6-1 to enter quarterfinals where he outplayed Daulet Niyazbekov of Kazakhstan 9-0 to set up a semifinal clash. Daulet had defeated Bajrang in the 2019 World Championships semifinal. He had eventually finished with silver while the Indian wrestler had bagged bronze in the event.
Bajrang had pulled out of the final bout against nemesis Takuto Otoguro of Japan at the Asian Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan in April because of an old elbow injury that surfaced in the earlier rounds. The latest injury is a worrying sign ahead of the mega event.