It is the final call for the wrestlers to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics this year as the Wrestling Federation of India plans to host selection trials in March.
The trials will be conducted mainly to select India’s Wrestling contingent who will feature in the Tokyo Olympic qualifiers later in April and May.
Currently, four wrestlers from India have cemented their spot in the big-ticket event. The four of the freestyle wrestlers are:- Bajrang Punia (men’s 65Kg), Deepak Punia (men’s 74Kg), Ravi Kumar Dahiya (men’s 57Kg) and Vinesh Phogat (women’s 53Kg) who have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics after their stellar performances at the 2019 World Wrestling Championships.
It is understood that still as many as fourteen berths for the Olympics are open and wrestlers from the country will be battling it out to secure their place in the biggest event. It will also act as the preparation for the Asian Olympic Qualifiers which will be held in Kazakhstan from April 9 to 11 while the World Olympic Qualifiers will be held in Bulgaria from May 6 to 9. These two qualifiers will eventually decide who goes through to the main event of the Summer Games in July-August. Therefore the wrestlers have already started preparing for the national trails which in one way will decide their fate at the world stage.
“We have not yet decided the exact dates for the qualifiers but in all likelihood the trials will be held in March,” WFI assistant secretary Vinod Tomar told wrestling.tv.
“It will give us time to prepare the selected wrestlers for the qualifiers in April,” Tomar added.
Surprisingly, Rio 2016 Bronze medalist Sakshi Malik and India’s only two time individual medallist Sushil Kumar are yet to cement their places for the Summer Games this year and hence they are likely to be seen in the trials. However it will be a very tough outing for both the veterans as they will be up against some very talented wrestlers.
To get hold of the women’s 62Kg spot, Sakshi will have to go through against 18-year old Sonam Malik who has already defeated the Bronze medallist in the recent past. The young sensation is one to watch out for as claimed by many coaches.
The women’s 57kg spot will also have a lot of suitors with three clear contenders in the form of Anshu Malik who is an upcoming star, 2018 World Championship Bronze medallist Pooja Dhanda and lastly former Asian champion Sarita Mor. These three won’t leave an inch for each other and it will only make the duels more exciting.
There are no prizes for guessing that the biggest draw of the trials will be involving Sushil Kumar in the men’s 74kg category as he will face his rival Narsingh Yadav who is making a return. While the third fighter in this battle will be Sandeep Singh Mann who will also pose a huge threat especially after winning the gold medal in the senior national wrestling championship where he came up with an upset against veteran Jitendra Kumar.