India’s rising star Deepak Punia (86kg) has pulled out of the final of the Wrestling World Championships due to injury. He has to settle for silver. According to reports, Punia’s leg is injured and he has an eye swelling too. It is believed that he picked up both injuries during the first round. The 19-year-old, who became the youngest Indian ever to make it to the final of the World Championships, also bagged a Tokyo 2020 Olympic quota in the process on Saturday.
Deepak, who also won the World Cadet title in 2016, was the fourth Indian grappler to book a Tokyo ticket this week, following Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia and Ravi Kumar Dahiya. While each of them pocketed a bronze medal, Deepak would be the only Indian to return home with a silver.
Competing in his maiden senior Worlds, the young grappler had to pull out of the final in the men’s freestyle 86kg due to injuries to his leg and eye. “I am really disappointed. I am coming back tomorrow. I am happy I booked a berth to the Olympics. But I really wanted to fight for gold,” Punia was quoted by IANS from Nur-Sultan in Kazakhstan.
“I practiced well for this. There was tough competition. But I had faith in my abilities and I did well,” he said when asked about his rich vein of form in the competition.
Punia said he wants to make up for this setback at the Olympics, where he is aiming for gold. “Olympics is everything for me. It’s a dream. I want to go and train outside before the Olympics. My target is to win gold at the Olympics. Every bout will be tough in Tokyo.
“But I am confident of my abilities and I will give my everything to win the gold medal. It’s my dream and it means everything to me.”
Punia got past Kazakhstan’s Adilet Davlumbayev, Bakhdour Kodirov of Tajikistan, Columbia’s Milton Izquierdo and Stefan Reichmuth of Switzerland to earn his spot in the final.