The Indian Wrestling Federation has refuted Bajrang Punia’s claim regarding the non-availability of a physiotherapist for training on Friday March 26.
Just a day later Bajrang Punished claimed to be carrying out his own rehabilitation process after struggling to find a dedicated physical therapist, WFI went against grapplers’ claims.
WFI clarified that Bajrang denied having used the services of two qualified physiotherapists recently at the national camp of the SAI center Sonepat.
Previously, amid physiology concerns, Bajrang had sent numerous proposals to Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) through Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).
The proposals were to sanction the bronze-medal grappler, a personal trainer and a physical therapist for training in India and abroad. SAI has approved a budget of around ₹20 lakh for Bajrang from December 2020 to August 2021.
In a statement, WFI said:
“After the Olympics, Mr Bajrang Punia empties an email dated November 22, 2021 requesting the assistance of a personal physiotherapist – Dr Anand Kumar who is currently employed by Indian Railways. WFI immediately sent a proposal to SAI TOPS for approval which was then approved by the competent authority and a letter was sent by SAI & WFI to the secretary of the Railway Sports Promotion Council for the release and attachment of Mr. Anand Kumar to Bajrang.
“Furthermore, as per Bajrang’s request, the physiotherapist was allowed to be accommodated and lodged at SAI Sonipat center at government expense. Since Dr. Anand was not relieved by his department, WFI therefore arranged another physiotherapist for Bajrang. The WFI selected two physiotherapists and they visited the SAI center on a trial basis, but Bajrang denied taking their services. WFI, with the approval of SAI, has also provided two physiotherapists to STC, Sonepat, where the national camp is taking place.”
Wrestler Bajrang Punia will be in action at the Asian Championships in Ulaanbaatar
Bajrang Punia, who will be in action for the first time in a major event since the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, said his left knee injury has improved by “90 per cent”.
The 28-year-old will take part in the Ulaanbaatar Asian Championships from April 19-24 in Mongolia. Bajrang beat two-time national champion Rohit 4-2 in the Asian meet selection trials to secure his place in the men’s 65kg freestyle category.
After his trial match, Bajrang said:
“It’s the first time I’ve taken part in a competition since Tokyo. I was recovering from knee injuries. I was doing my own rehabilitation without a doctor or physio available with me. I had their services until the Olympic Games. After that I applied for TOPS division but no one was made available to me. My application for a full-time physio is pending with them.”
He further added:
“I had also requested the same from JSW, but they also seemed helpless. JSW informed me that they could not attach personnel without permission from the federation (WFI). Later, WFI provided a physio, but sadly he passed away recently after working with me for just a week. He was 26.”
He also spoke about his frequent injury problems and cited not having a physio as the reason for his problems.
“Since 2013 I’ve had a full-time physio with me and that’s why I’ve been injury-free all these years. After Tokyo, I don’t have that luxury anymore and I get injured more frequently. If a physio had been with me I would not have missed the Rome ranking series and Yasar Dogu’s invitation to Istanbul My recovery from knee injuries would have been much faster I ask TOPS and the authorities to help me provide a physio as soon as possible.”
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