In a shocking turn of events, Naveen Kumar has been forced out of the Asian Wrestling Championships with an injury. The 30-year-old was a strong contender for the 130kg Greco-Roman gold. He has been advised to stay away from action following a thumb fracture.
“I got injured while training. I have fractured my left-thumb and unable to make grips. I could have still tried if my bout were on February 22. Doctors have said that there is now way, I can think of playing on February 18. I am compelled to withdraw from the Asian Championships,” said Naveen.
However, Naveen was optimistic about his early recovery for the Olympic qualifiers. “Olympic qualifiers will be played in March and by then I will be fit. Now, I will start preparing for the Olympics.”
The Haryana-wrestler will be replaced by an athlete from the Services. “Mehar Singh from the Services will replace Naveen for the 130kg Greco-Roman category,” WFI assistant secretary Vinod Tomar told Wrestling TV.
Mehar has not yet made any significant achievement at the Seniors level. He is the 2014 Junior Asian Championships gold medallist and silver medallist in 2013 Asian competition.
With the first-choice of 130kg Naveen out of the competition, Mehar has a chance to prove his mettle at the international scene. The Greco-Roman competition will be held over the first two days of the continental tournament. The 130kg category matches are scheduled on Day 1 of the Competition, February 18.