Ace Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat has pulled out of the upcoming 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou with a knee injury.

The 28-year-old reportedly picked up the injury during a training session on Sunday.

Phogat, who became at the first Indian woman wrestler to win an Asian Games gold medal during the previous edition in Jakarta, explained that she will now have to undergo surgery to help recover from the injury.

“I wanted to share an extremely sad piece of news,” Phogat wrote in a statement on Twitter. “A couple of days ago on 13th August 2023, I injured my left knee in training. After doing the scans and examinations, the doctor has said that unfortunately, surgery is the only option for me to recover.

“I will be undergoing surgery on 17th August in Mumbai. It was my dream to retain my Asian Games Gold medal for India which I won in 2018 at Jakarta. But, unfortunately, this injury has ruled out my participation now,” she added.

The 19-year-old Antim Panghal, who had challenged Phogat’s inclusion in the Asian Games team without trials, is now expected to replace Phogat at the continental event.

“I have imformed all concerned authorites immediately so that the Reserve player can be sent to the Asian Games,” Phogat added.

The untimely injury also rules her out from the upcoming 2023 Wrestling World Championships, with the trials for the event scheduled to be held in Patiala later this month.

This is a big blow for Phogat with the World Championships being the first qualifying event for the 2024 Paris Olympics. She had, in fact, qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics following a bronze medal finish at the 2019 World Championships.