India’s star wrestlers Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat have started training after recuperating from injuries. However, they will miss the Senior Wrestling Championships to prepare for next year.
Bajrang Punia, who suffered a ligament tear in June during the Ali Aliyev competition in Russia, managed to win an Olympic bronze medal in the 65kg bracket. However, he decided to skip the world wrestling championships to begin his rehabilitation.
In an exclusive conversation with Sportskeeda, he said:
“My knee is better now. I only started training this week so I will not be competing at the Nationals. The focus is to return to my old self before making a comeback.”
Bajrang Punia is still not training heavily in order to let his body and knee get used to the pressure. He said that there is still a lot of stiffness which restricts movement.
“There is stiffness in my knee and then thoda darr bhi lagta hai abhi. Taking it step-by-step,” he added.
Bajrang Punia ready to reunite with coach Shako Bentinidis
Bajrang Punia is looking to return to the mat in the first major competition post-the wrestling nationals. He has been in touch with his personal coach Shako Bentinidis and is eager to reunite with him. The Georgian coach returned home in August.
The wrestlers said the Wrestling and Federation of India and he still needs to have a discussion over it before taking a final call.
“I am in touch with him and he is helping me train. I would like for him to return and we can start training but the final call is of the federation,” Bajrang Punia said.
The federation will make a final decision on the coaches after the national wrestling championships.
Meanwhile, Vinesh Phogat has also returned to training. She shared a video of her training on Instagram.
The former world medallist, who made a shocking exit from the Tokyo Olympics, underwent elbow surgery in September.
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She withdrew from the trials for the world championships in August after the opening bout. Vinesh Phogat, at the time, said she felt “dizziness” and did not feel comfortable on the mat.