Wrestling has been a sport which is celebrated all over India mainly because it has been a source of medals at international events. Starting from Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and even the Olympics wrestling has been that sport which gives hope to Indian fans.
So four Indian wrestlers Vinesh Phogat (Women’s Freestyle 53 kg), Bajrang Punia (Men’s Freestyle 65 kg), Ravi Kumar Dahiya (Men’s Freestyle 57 kg) and Deepak Punia (Men’s Freestyle 86 kg) have cleared their pathway for the Tokyo Olympics and along with the fans from all over the country, Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh also revealed how he has high hopes from them heading into the Olympics.
The WFI president is hopeful that the wrestling contingent may bring four medals from the Tokyo Olympics despite the absence of top names like Sonam Malik, Sakshi Malik, Sushil Kumar and Poonam Dhanda who are still looking to make it through after clearing the final hurdle. They are set to feature in the World Olympic Qualifiers which will be their final hurdle to make it through to the Olympics this time. The tournament will start from April 29.
“I am very hopeful that this time in the Olympics we will bag four medals. Last time also I had expected three medals, but due to the controversies and Vinesh getting injured it was our bad luck (that we didn’t). But this year I am very hopeful and confident that our athletes will definitely get four medals,” Brij Bhushan told ANI.
The WFI also revealed how they are planning to open an Olympic centre for its premier athletes in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. It is understood that they have proposed the state government to allot land for the project.
“I have proposed the Chief Minister to give us land for the wrestling field and CM will take a call on it. I am sure that the Olympic Center will be built in Noida,” Brij Bhushan said.
The pandemic has been a nightmare for all sports activities and wrestling is no different. Brij Bhushan revealed how much difficulty they have had to face organising their 65th national freestyle senior wrestling championship during the pandemic situation and how it also had a negative impact on the performances of the wrestlers.
“It was a big challenge to organise this tournament. In the World Cup in which our wrestlers participated and won silver medals, I realised that due to no competitions our players were struggling and that impacted performance,” he said.
“We used to organise Greco-Roman, men’s freestyle and women’s freestyle together but this time due to COVID-19 and keeping in mind the social distancing (protocols) and hygiene we have segregated this tournament in three different parts,” he added.