Wrestling shake-up in offing before Asiad test

Despite winning 12 medals at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, no Indian wrestler is guaranteed of a spot in the squad that will represent the country at the Asian Games in Jakarta.

Published: 05th May 2018 01:19 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th May 2018 04:10 AM   |  A+A-

Bajrang Punia (right) was one of the outstanding performers of the CWG

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Despite winning 12 medals at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, no Indian wrestler is guaranteed of a spot in the squad that will represent the country at the Asian Games in Jakarta. The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) will be conducting selection trials during the first week of June which will mostly be held at the Indira Gandhi Stadium Complex in New Delhi.

"The Asian Games is a different scene and the standard is definitely higher. Just because they won a medal at CWG, we can't pick them. The squad for the CWG was picked before the Commonwealth Wrestling Championships and there is no guarantee that they will be able to replicate the same success in Jakarta. We will ensure that only the most deserving athletes will represent the country in August," VN Prasood, WFI secretary, told Express on Friday. India had won five medals, including one gold, at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon.

The Indian contingent have always been successful in the Commonwealth Games. However, a poor show during the World Championships in 2017 and the Olympics in Rio raised concerns about their standards. With stronger teams like Kazakhstan and Mongolia in the fray, the meet in Indonesia will be the perfect platform for the wrestlers to prove their doubters wrong.

However, the federation's plan to bring in three foreign coaches before the initial national camp that will start on May 7 will not happen. Iran’s Hossein Karimi (men’s freestyle), Russia’s Farniev Irbek Valentinovich (women’s freestyle) and Georgia’s Temo Kazarashvili (Greco-Roman) are the leading candidates for the job. The WFI had requested the Sports Authority of India to grant them the coaches as soon as possible. But an issue regarding their pay scale stalled the process.

All three were demanding a hefty package which SAI were not willing to agree to. However, WFI officials are positive that a decision will be made within next week. "We have sent the bio data of all the coaches with their respective salaries to SAI. A high priority commission will conduct a meeting with us in the coming days. Right now, we have managed to get things sorted for two coaches. A decision on the third coach will be out soon," Prasood said. Both SAI and WFI refused to reveal names of the two coaches who are almost certain to join the Indian contingent.

vimalsankar@newindianexpress.com

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