CHENNAI: Wrestling Federation of India’s (WFI) decision to debar 25 women wrestlers may take sheen out of selection trials scheduled at SAI Centre, Lucknow for the upcoming World Championships. The trials will be held in four non-Olympic weight categories including 55, 59, 65 and 72 divisions on Monday. The international event will be held in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan from September 14 to 22.
The WFI has barred the wrestlers including Rio Olympics bronze-medallist Sakshi Malik from attending national camp and trials for repeatedly missing the ongoing camp without seeking exemption. The trials in six Olympic weight categories had been conducted last month with Sakshi securing Worlds berth in 62 kg. The sanctioned grapplers have been asked to submit their replies by Monday.
“Most of them have already submitted their replies but the those who were supposed to participate in the trials will not be allowed to contest,” confirmed women’s coach Kuldeep Malik. “Those, who have been already selected including Sakshi, will not be debarred from participating in the Worlds.”
The WFI’s decision has also rendered participants confused over their probable opponents. “We don’t know whom we will meet in the trials. A few categories will see only a couple of bouts because of it,” one of the participants said.
A total of seven wrestlers, who were expected to attend trials, have been affected by the sanction. They are Pinki (55 kg), Manju, Ankita and Rani Rana (all 59 kg), Anita, Gargi Yadav and Ritu Malik (all 65 kg).
Pooja, Navjot to take part
World Championships bronze winner Pooja Dhanda, who was stunned by Sarita Mor in 57 kg in the previous trials, will compete in the 59 kg this time. “Worlds is an important event and I will be competing in 59 kg to book a place in the squad. I’ve practised with 59 kg wrestlers but this will be my first competitive bout in this section,” Pooja said. Navjot Kaur who was beaten by Divya Kakran in 68 kg, will compete in 65 kg categoty.