In a disappointing turn of events, Vinesh Phogat, who had secured a direct entry to the Asian Games, conveyed on Tuesday that she will not be able to participate in the upcoming prestigious event in Hangzhou due to a knee injury that necessitates surgery.
The decision to exempt Vinesh and Bajrang Punia from the Asian Games trials had ignited a storm of controversy within the wrestling community, as the ad-hoc panel’s choice faced considerable criticism.
However, fate took its own course, leading to Vinesh’s unfortunate absence from the sporting spectacle scheduled to commence on September 23.
Vinesh disclosed the details of her injury through an official statement shared on her social media platform, X (formerly known as Twitter).
“With a heavy heart, I wish to convey extremely unfortunate news. A few days ago, on August 13, 2023, I sustained an injury to my left knee during training. Following thorough scans and medical evaluations, the doctor has advised that surgery is the only viable path to my recovery,” she wrote.
“I am scheduled to undergo surgery on August 17 in Mumbai. It was my aspiration to defend my Asian Games gold medal for India, which I triumphed in back in 2018 at Jakarta. Regrettably, this injury has dashed my hopes of participating in this edition,” she further lamented. Vinesh also confirmed that she has promptly informed the relevant authorities, enabling them to replace her with a reserve player for the Asian Games.
This unfortunate development now paves the way for Antim Panghal’s potential inclusion in the national squad. The U-20 world champion, Panghal, had already triumphed in the trials and was placed on standby.
Vinesh expressed her heartfelt appeal to her supporters, stating, “I kindly request all my fans to continue standing by me, fostering my strength as I strive to make a resilient comeback to the wrestling arena. Your unwavering support acts as a beacon of strength for me,” she concluded.