'Removed bandage before last match': How injured Bajrang Punia won Bronze at Olympics
Published on Dec 04, 2021 09:25 PM IST
For Bajrang Punia, the choice was stark: remove the protective tape and risk surgery or risk losing an Olympic medal. He did what he did because for Punia life is about what you do in those six minutes on the mat. Having lost the semi-final, Punia opted to take the tape off in the Olympics bronze medal fight against Kazakhstan’s Daulet Niyazbekov. “I thought if I have to go for surgery, so be it but I could not let this opportunity go,” he said. “I have everything: gold at the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and three medals at the world championships. I was preparing only to win gold (in Tokyo) but the injury happened. Doctors told me that if I remove the tape and fight, I might need surgery. People will say, ‘why take a chance, there is the 2024 Paris Olympics.’ But I was preparing for Tokyo, how could I come back without a medal?” Punia, a former world No. 1 in the 65kg, said Indians can win multiple Olympic medals but only if they are allowed “to play freely without any pressure.” Watch the full video for more details.