The annual 64th Senior Men freestyle and 22nd women senior national wrestling championship scheduled in Jalandhar from 29th November to 1st December is losing is attractiveness by the day. After several top wrestlers pulled out, one of India’s top wrestlers Pooja Dhanda has also decided to skip the National Championships’
She [Dahanda] was supposed to participate in the 57kg category at the nationals but will now miss out on the event. The 2018 World championship medal winner revealed she would be missing the tournament due to a knee injury.
When questioned about her impending absence in the upcoming Wrestling Nationals, she said, “It is a disappointment that I would not be competing at the Nationals as I am feeling a little discomfort in my knee and I am currently going through rehabilitation.”
Dhanda Pooja is also focusing on making it to Tokyo 2020 in the 57kg category. It will also be preparing herself for the UWW ranking series event in January to be held in Rome, Italy, together with Asian Olympic Qualifiers scheduled for March in China.
She earlier competed in the 59kg category of the 2019 world wrestling championships, which does not belong to a group in the Olympics. Before the world championships, she lost out in a trial match to Sarita More. This loss has made her moved to 59kg, but she has plans to move back to 57kg and also planning to establish qualifications for the Tokyo 2020 tournament. Her shifting to 59kg was temporal, and she hopes to continue competing in the 57kg and will give it her all for the 2020 qualifications.
Bajrang Punia, Deepak Punia, Ravi Dhaiya, and Sushil Kumar also made decisions to miss the national competitions having their personal reasons. It remains to be seen how Dhanda will be fit in time for next year’s finals in 2020 as she needs to perform at the highest stage.
Written by: Olumide Akinnifesi