Olympic medalist Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia is upset over the rigid tape used by doctors for a head injury during his World Championships quarter-final match against John Michael Diakomihalis of America. Bajrang said on Thursday that he found it difficult to concentrate on his match after using the tape.
Bajrang Punia, who was trying to win his maiden World Cup title, started bleeding from a head injury in the first minute of his opening match against Cuba’s Alejandro Enrique Vlades Tobier in Belgrade. In such a situation, the doctors present there had put ‘hard tape’ over his injury, which is actually used to immobilize the knee and ankle.
Bajrang said in an interview to ‘PTI-Bhasha’, “God knows why did he do this? This caused me a lot of trouble because the hair on my head got stuck in the tape. He pasted the tape on the wound without using cotton. I had to cut my hair at one point to remove the tape. It took more than 20 minutes to remove it.
He continued, “Instead of strategizing against the American wrestler, my team and I were busy getting rid of the tapes. I had 20-25 minutes between the two bouts and all this time was spent removing the tape.” His personal physio Dr. Anand Dubey from Bajrang said that ideally doctors should have used a light adhesive tape. .
“The hard tape causes swelling in the head. This also causes pain in the head of the person. You know how wrestlers put their hands on the opponent’s head. That’s why we decided to remove it and put a light adhesive tape.” Bajrang was out of the race for the gold medal after losing to the American player by technical superiority. However, he later won the bronze medal through the repechage round.
Bajrang, the only Indian wrestler to have won four world medals, said he did not expect to lose on technical superiority to Diyakomihalis. “I lost 10-9 to this wrestler in 2019. I am not saying that I would have defeated him easily, but I was hoping for at least a close fight. First, the head injury and then this tape issue really bothered me.”
Bajrang defeated Vazhen Tevanyan of Armenia 7-6 in the repechage round to beat Puerto Rico’s Sebastian C Rivera 11-9 in the bronze play-off. However, Bajrang did not appear to be in full swing during his campaign. He allowed the opposing wrestlers to score a lot of points and won most of the matches after falling behind. Terming it as worrying, Bajrang’s coach Sujit Mann said, “There are some areas where Bajrang needs to improve and ‘leg defence’ is one of them. I don’t have any complaints about his strength, speed and aggressive manner, but you can’t let him get hold of your leg so easily.
He added, “The competition in the World Championship and the Olympics is almost the same. It is more difficult in 65kg. You must have seen that Haji Alive (Azerbaijan) is an Olympic medalist but has returned empty handed from Belgrade.” However, Bajrang is satisfied with his performance. “When you attack, you have to be prepared to lose some points. If I have lost points, I have scored more than that. You can keep the other player from taking points by being on the defensive, but I believe in aggressive play to score points myself.