The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has postponed India’s national wrestling championships, which was scheduled to start on December 18, to January 2021 due to the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in India.
The COVID-19 virus has entered into the Indian wrestling community as well, with two wrestlers — Narsingh Yadav and Gurpreet Singh — testing positive for the virus on Friday.
“The situation is far from ideal. It is not possible to conduct nationals. We will try to host the championships towards the end of January next year,” WFI assistant secretary Vinod Tomar told the PTI.
“We have done that in the past too when circumstances dictated such a step,” he added.
Divya Kakran, the Women’s wrestler who won a Gold in the 68kg category at the Asian Championships earlier this year, has also tested positive for coronavirus.
The national championships were set to be held in Gonda, Uttar Pradesh. But the WFI has confirmed that the venue might change if other states show interest to host the event.
There will be no trials conducted for the Individual World Cup (IWC) beginning in Belgrade, Siberia, from December 12, but WFI has confirmed that they will still send an Indian contingent for the event.
“We decided against hosting the trials and are sending the same wrestlers who competed in the Asian Championship in New Delhi in February,” Tomar said.
There will be some big names missing in the Indian wrestling team going to Belgrade, though. All of Jitender Kumar (74Kg), Sombir Rathi (92Kg) and Vinesh Phogat (53Kg) have been asked to be exempted from the tournament. Bajrang Punia (65 Kg), who wants to take part in the Tokyo Olympics, has also decided to stay away from this tournament as he will be undergoing a training camp in the US instead.
Punia will travel to the US with coach Emzarios Bentinidis and physio Dhananjay for the camp at Cliff Keen Wrestling Club, Michigan, which is supposed to be conducted from December 4 to January 3. He will be training with wrestlers like Sergei Beloglazov (a two-time olympic champion) in that camp to prepare himself for the mega event in Tokyo.