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Bajrang Punia refused federation-appointed physios at camp: WFI


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Controversy after Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist complained that he was without a physio.



India's Bajrang Punia(PTI)



The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) refuted Bajrang Punia’s charge that he is without a physiotherapist since the Tokyo Olympics, saying on Friday that the Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist has refused the services of two physios at the national camp in Sports Authority of India (SAI), Sonepat.

WFI said after the Olympics Punia made a request to hire physio Anand Kumar Dubey, but he was not being released by his employers Indians 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 SAI & WFI to the Secretary, Railway Sports Promotion Board for the release and attachment of Anand Kumar with Bajrang,” WFI said in a statement on Friday.

“As per the request from Bajrang Punia, the physiotherapist was sanctioned boarding and lodging at the SAI Sonepat centre at cost to the government. Since Dr. Anand Kumar 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,” WFI said.

After competing at the national selection trials for the Asian Championships on Thursday, Punia said he was doing his own rehabilitation in the absence of a regular physio, despite repeated requests to WFI and SAI. Punia said he has been travelling abroad for training without a physio and is yet to recover fully from injuries.

WFI said all his requirements were met before the Tokyo Olympics through the TOPS scheme.

“Bajrang sent many proposals to SAI, TOPS through WFI for sanctioning Personal Coach & Physiotherapist for training abroad. SAI sanctioned around Rs.20 lakhs from December 2020 to August 2021. During the pre-Olympics, Bajrang along with his personal physiotherapist, coach and sparring partner were sanctioned training-cum-competition exposure in Russia by TOPS/WFI.”

Punia injured his right knee during a tournament in Russia before the Tokyo Olympics. WFI said he was given immediate assistance by his physiotherapist Manish Chettri who was travelling with him and Dr. Dinshaw Pardiwala looked into it.

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