Commonwealth gold medalist Bajrang Punia will miss out on the National Games 2022 owing to a head injury that he sustained in Belgrade during the World Championships earlier this month. Bajrang Punia suffered a head injury and required five stitches at the marquee event. Punia had picked up the injury during his pre-quarter-final bout at the world championships. However, he made a spirited fightback to go on to win his fourth world championships medal, a bronze, with a bandage on his head.
Later, doctors treated Bajrang Punia and advised him to rest. With the wrestling events at the National Games to be held on September 30, Bajrang Punia decided to pull out. “I won’t be competing at the National Games due to my head injury,” Punia, who would have represented home-state Haryana, was quoted by Olympic website as saying on Friday.
“It’s unfortunate that it happened so close to the event. The cut is fresh and will take time to heal,” the Indian wrestler added. Punia is the latest high-profile athlete to pull out of the National Games. While Olympic medallists Neeraj Chopra and PV Sindhu opted to take a break, Commonwealth Games champion Sharath Kamal suffered a back injury and withdrew mid-game during his quarter-final match on Friday.
The National Games 2022 officially gets underway on September 27 and will run till October 10. The events will be held across six cities – Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot and Bhavnagar. Only cycling events will be held in New Delhi. More than 7,000 athletes, including Olympians and international medallists, will compete in 36 sports which include both indoor and outdoor competitions.