Focus On Vinesh Phogat As Indian Wrestlers Begin Olympic Quota Hunt

The spotlight will be on two-time Olympian Vinesh Phogat as she along with 16 other Indian wrestlers begin their chase for Paris Games quota places at the Asia Olympic qualifiers beginning in Bishkek on Friday. As many as 36 quotas will be up for grabs in 18 weight categories across three disciplines — freestyle, women and greco-roman — during the event, with India representing in all but one weight category. Antim Panghal, 19, has already sealed a quota place in women’s 53kg for India en route to her bronze medal winning feat at the 2023 World Wrestling Championships in Belgrade, Serbia.

It will be time for the rest of the Indian wrestlers such as Vinesh (60kg), Reetika Hooda (76kg), the current Under-23 world champion Anshu (57kg), Mansi (62kg) and Nisha (68kg) to put their best foot forward and seal their quota places.

However, none of the Indians will be under the scanner like Vinesh, the 2018 Asian Games and 2022 Commonwealth Games medallist, who was one of the face of Indian wrestlers’ protest against former national federation (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

The 29-year-old, who has been in the news for wrong reasons of late, had won the national trials in March in 50kg. Though, at the selection trials in Patiala, she had competed in the 53kg category as well after the authorities allowed her but she lost in the semifinals.

Vinesh also had alleged that her personal coach and physio were being denied accreditation for the Asian Olympic qualifying tournament.

She will be desperate to put all the noise behind her and put up a good show to make it to what could be her third Olympics.

In men’s freestyle category, Aman Sehrawat (57kg) will hog the limelight after he earned his place after outwitting Tokyo Olympic medallist Ravi Dahiya in the national trials.


He also looks in good form as he had claimed a gold at the Zagreb Open in January this year.

Among others, Sujeet too will be closely watched as he leads the challenge in 65kg category following the failure of Tokyo bronze medallist Bajrang Punia.

Deepak Punia (86kg), who had come close to winning a medal at the Tokyo Games, will also eye a good outing, while Jaideep (74kg), Deepak (97kg) and Sumit (125kg) will also look to produce their best game to claim a quota for India.

There will be no gold medal, repechage or bronze-medal bouts in the continental qualifiers with winners of both semi-finals in each Olympic weight class earning a quota for their countries at the Paris Games.

In greco-roman, Sumit (60kg), Ashu (67kg), Vikas (77kg), Sunil (87kg), Nitesh (97kg) and Naveen (130kg) will look for a good show.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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