WFI hits back at Bajrang Punia, alleges he denied services of physios at national camp | More sports News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: A day after Bajrang Punia alleged that he has been forced to do his own rehabilitation from knee injuries owing to the non-availability of a full-time physio, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) hit back at the Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist by claiming that the star wrestler denied availing the services of two qualified physios when they visited him recently at the SAI Sonepat centre during the national camp.
The WFI informed that Bajrang had sent many proposals to the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) division through the federation for sanctioning his personal coach and physiotherapist for training abroad and in India and the same was sanctioned at a cost of around Rs 20 lakh by the authorities from December 2020 to August 2021.
“During the pre-Olympic training, Bajrang Punia with his personal physiotherapist, coach and sparring partner were sanctioned training-cum-competition exposure in Russia by TOPS/WFI. In Russia, during the semifinal bout, he sustained injury and was given immediate assistance by his physiotherapist, Manish Chettri, who was travelling with him throughout the pre-Olympics training. Further, the case was then examined by Dr Dinshaw Pardiwala with the help of the Central Athlete Injury Management System (CAIMS) and he recommended rehabilitation sessions for recovery. In this regard, a therapeutic equipment – Game Ready device with accessories was sanctioned by the sports ministry/SAI to Bajrang and facilitated by the Indian Embassy, Russia on priority basis,” the WFI said in a statement.

“Post Olympics, Bajrang, vide email dated 22nd November 2021, requested for the assistance of personal physiotherapist, Dr Anand Kumar, who is currently employed by the Indian Railways. The WFI immediately sent a proposal to SAI, TOPS for approval which was later approved by the competent authority and a letter was issued by the SAI and WFI to secretary, Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) for the release and attachment of Anand Kumar with Bajrang.
“Further, as per the request from Bajrang, the physiotherapist was sanctioned boarding and lodging at the SAI Sonipat center at cost to the government. Since Dr Anand was not relieved by his department, therefore, WFI arranged another physiotherapist for Bajrang. The WFI selected two physiotherapists and they visited SAI centre on trial basis but Bajrang denied taking their services. The WFI, with the approval of SAI, has also provided two physiotherapists at STC, Sonepat where the national camp is going on,” the statement added.
Earlier on Thursday, Bajrang, the CWG and Asian Games champion, had complained about the absence of physio which delayed his recovery from knee injuries. Bajrang, who returned to competitive action for the first time on Thursday since his Tokyo feat, reminded SAI & TOPS that he has been rehabilitating from knee injuries on his own, without the support of a dedicated physio which was available to him up until the Summer Games. Bajrang had entered the Tokyo Games half-fit, nursing an injury to his right knee suffered during the semifinals of the Ali Aliyev invitational tournament in Moscow in June last year. He later suffered another injury to his left knee during a training session at SAI centre, Sonepat, in January end.

On Thursday, after booking his place in the Indian contingent for the Ulaanbaatar Asian Championships in Mongolia from April 19 to 24, Bajrang informed that while he’s still undergoing treatment on his right knee. His left-knee injury has improved “90 percent”. Bajrang defeated two-time national champion Rohit 4-2 in the selection trials for the Asian meet at the KD Jadhav wrestling Indoor stadium here to make the cut in the men’s freestyle 65kg category.
“This is the first time I have participated in a competition since Tokyo. I was recovering from knee injuries. I was doing my own rehabilitation with no doctor or physio available with me. I had their services till the Olympics. After that, I requested the TOPS division but no one was made available to me. My application for a full-time physio is pending with them. I had also placed a request for the same with JSW but they also sounded helpless. JSW informed me that they can’t attach personnel without the federation’s (WFI) permission. Later, the WFI provided a physio, but unfortunately, he passed away recently after working with me for just one week. He was all of 26 years,” Bajrang said after his bout.
“Since 2013, I have kept a full-time physio with me and that’s the reason why I have remained injury-free all these years. After Tokyo, I don’t have this luxury and I am getting injured more frequently. Had a physio been with me, I wouldn’t have missed the Rome ranking series and Yasar Dogu invitation in Istanbul. My recovery from knee injuries would have been much faster. I request the TOPS and authorities to provide me with a physio at the earliest,” he added.

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