India’s young wrestling sensation Deepak Punia was forced to settle with silver after he pulled out of the World Wrestling Championships 86kg final due to an ankle injury, here on Sunday.
Punia’s left ankle was injured during his first bout on Saturday and the injury was aggravated as he made his way to the final of the prestigious tournament. He was due to face Hassan Yazdani of Iran in the 86kg final.
He was the only Indian to enter a final bout in this edition of the World Championships.
After Punia’s ouster, Rahul Aware is now the only remaining Indian wrestler in the tournament and will fight for the bronze medal in the 61kg category later on Sunday.
“The left foot is not taking the load. It’s difficult to fight in this condition. I know it was a big chance to fight against Yazdani but I can’t help it. I am a bit disappointed that I can’t fight for gold but I am happy with my overall performance here. I will work hard and the aim is to win a medal in the Olympics,” Deepak said.
Deepak Punia is a cadet world champ, a junior world champ and now he will travel to Tokyo for Olympics after qualifying from the World Championships.
Earlier on Saturday, Punia defeated Stefan Reichmuth of Switzerland convincingly by 8-2 and became the youngest Indian ever to make it to the finals of the WWC.
Punia had to beat three wreslters on Saturday to secure an Olympic quota as he defeated Switzerland’s Stefan Reichmuth, Carlos Arturo Izquierdo Mendez of Colombia and Turkmenistan’s Kodirov in the semis, quarters and pre-quarters, respectively.
Earlier, in his first-round contest, he had staged a remarkable comeback to recover from a 0-5 deficit to win 8-6 against Kazhakstan’s Adilet Davlumbayev.
Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia and Ravi Kumar had also made the cut for the 2020 Games and bagged bronze medals in their respective weight categories.