Olympic Games-bound wrestler Sumit Malik could be out of action for up to three weeks after his old knee injury resurfaced during the recent World Olympic qualifiers in Sofia.
Due to this reason, the 28-year-old wrestler gave a walkover to his opponent, Russia’s Sergei Kozyrev, in the final of the 125kg category in Sofia on Saturday night. He had won the Olympic quota place by entering the final.
Finalists in each weight category were allotted tickets to the Olympic Games, scheduled to be held in Tokyo from July 23.
“Since Malik is injured, he will not train up to three weeks. We hope he would recover from the knee injury by the first or, maybe, second week of June. It is important for him to recover fully as Olympics are around the corner,” coach Virender Singh told IANS.
“Since it was the last tournament to achieve an Olympic berth, he went all out to win. But after the semi-final, the pain got a bit unbearable, so he decided to not compete in the final,” he said.
According to Singh, Malik, the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games champion, had hurt his right knee during a training session in the first week of April.
Despite the knee pain, Malik had carried on during the Asian Olympic qualification tournament, held last month in Almaty.
“He managed to recover as there was a gap between the Asian and the World qualification tournaments. But now he will have to undergo proper rehabilitation ahead of the Olympics,” said Singh.
The Wrestling Federation of India had picked a 12-member team, including six in men’s Greco-Roman, for the four-day World Olympic qualifiers.
Only two Indian wrestlers won Olympic quota places in Sofia; Seema Bisla was the other. She won an Olympic quota place in 50kg freestyle event after entering the final. Her opponent, Lucia Yamileth Yepez Gugman of Ecuador, pulled out of the final due to injury.