KOCHI: Top wrestlers Yogeshwar Dutt and Sakshi Malik will skip the selection trials for the upcoming Asian Championship that the country will be hosting this May. As per sources in the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) Yogeshwar didn’t turn up for the weigh-in ceremony held on Wednesday, while Sakshi has informed the officials that she would give the trials a miss due to her impending marriage.
The Asian Championship is a continental showpiece where 21 countries participate. In the last edition of the event held in Bangkok, India had won nine medals – one gold, three silver and five bronze.
“Yogeshwar has been avoiding the event for the last couple of years. But since we are hosting it, there was a feeling that he might partake and make the event his swansong. But it was not to be,” said a senior WFI official.
Men’s trails will be held on Thursday while the women’s trials will be held at Lucknow SAI centre on Friday.
Sources said that Sakshi informed WFI of her marriage and if she asks for trials later, it would be considered. In the absence of the Olympic bronze medallist, Geeta Phogat is tipped to win the trial. However, women’s head coach Kuldeep Malik said he is yet unsure of the participation of Geeta and Babita Phogat, who are training at their own academy in Bhiwani. “I am yet to hear any word from them regarding their participation,” he told Express.
Sandeep Tomar, who won gold in 57 kg freestyle last time, is expected to face a tough challenge from Utkarsh Kala and Amit Kumar. In the 65 kg freestyle, Bajrang is considered the pre-match favourite while Mousam Khatri is expected to win the trials in 97 kg freestyle. Rahul Aware (61 kg freestyle) is another name to watch out for.
In the Greco Roman category, Ravinder Khatri is fancied to win the trial in 80 kg, while Olympian Hardeep has an edge in 97 kg.