Deepak Punia has pulled out of the 86 kg freestyle final at the World Wrestling Championships in Nursultan, Kazakhstan where he was scheduled to face Iran’s Hassan Yazdani later on Sunday.
“I had an assessment in the morning and the physio said the ankle is very injured so I have decided to pull out of the final,” Punia told Scroll.in on Sunday.
He further added: “My ankle cannot take the load and it’s difficult to even stand. So wrestling will be very difficult. It was a big chance for me in the world final but it’s really difficult for me now.”
He suffered the injury in the first bout on Saturday against the Kazakhstan wrestler as his ankle twisted in one of the scrambles. Even his right eye is swollen to such an extent that it is almost shut.
The 20-year-old was aiming to become only the second India to win a Worlds gold. Sushil Kumar remains the only Indian to achieve that feat so far.
Earlier this year, Punia had ended an 18-year-wait for India’s wait to see a junior world champion. This was his first appearance at the senior Worlds.
In a dream run, Punia reached the final with wins over Reichmuth, Colombia’s Carlos Arturo Mendez and Kazakhstan’s Adilet Davlumbayev.