India’s Tokyo Olympian Sonam Malik will have to wait at least six to eight more weeks before she is able to make a comeback to competitive wrestling training, said Sonam’s personal coach Ajmer Singh on Tuesday.
Earlier in April, the teenage prodigy from Haryana’s Sonepat region sustained a knee injury during the Asian Olympic wrestling qualifying tournament in Almaty. Since then she has been undergoing rehabilitation to recover from the injury. Ajmer is hopeful of making a strong comeback early next year.
"We're hopeful Sonam will make a strong comeback. She is active but not training on the mat at the moment due to a niggle," said the wrestling coach.
Despite the injury, the 19-year-old competed at the Tokyo Olympic Games in the women’s 62kg freestyle event. As expected, Sonam bowed out in the first round because she couldn’t fine tune her training due to injury.
“Sonam is still undergoing a rehabilitation programme at her home in Sonepat. Since she is yet to fully recover from the knee injury sustained in April, she isn’t training hard. Or compete,” said Ajmer.
According to Sonam’s personal coach, the medical expert overseeing the rehabilitation programme has advised her not to compete until she has fully recovered.
Sonam Malik is recovering well and will compete next year: Coach Ajmer Singh
It has been more than seven months since Sonam got injured. It has been four months since she competed in an international competition. Unfit Sonam skipped the just concluded senior national wrestling championships held in Gonda.
“There is a risk if she competes or pushes hard in training at this moment as she hasn’t recovered from the knee injury. We don’t want to rush back to training or start competing until she is fully recovered,” added Ajmer.
The international wrestler has been excelling at the age group competitions at the world level since 2016.
The winner of the 2019 Cadet World Wrestling Championships gold stormed into the senior group in 2020. She cemented her place atop the field in the senior women’s 62kg freestyle event with a dominating win over Rio Olympic bronze medalist Sakshi Malik.
Since 2020, the teenager has been undisputed at 62kg and qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games earlier this year in April.
However, a knee injury halted her good run in the build-up to the month's of the Olympic Games. To stay safe, she even skipped the pre-Tokyo Olympic Games competition in Poland.
The lack of fine tuning put a big question on Sonam competing at the Tokyo Olympic Games. The 19-year-old Haryana’s injured wrestler was a pale shadow of herself at the Tokyo Olympic Games. She bowed out in the first round on her debut at the Olympics held in Japan.
If Sonam’s coach is to be believed, the recovery has been good in the last two months. There is hope of making a comeback early next year, added Ajmer.
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“Sonam is mentally tough. We are hopeful she will make a strong comeback early next year,” said Ajmer.