CHENNAI : The 74kg weight category wrestling bouts will again be closely-watched contests when the selection trials to select men’s freestyle team for the World Championships begin on July 26 in Sonepat. India’s most-celebrated wrestler Sushil Kumar, who is training in Russia at the moment, is likely to take part in the trials making the competition more interesting and intense. “I am in Russia at the moment. I will confirm my participation in a day or two to the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI),” the two-time Olympic medallist told this newspaper.
The WFI on Saturday announced dates for the selection trials. Apart from men’s trials, women’s trials will be held in Lucknow on July 28. Greco-Roman team that will represent the country in the event has already been picked up. The World Championships in Kazakhstan in September is the first qualifying tournament for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Amit Kumar Dhankar represented India in the Asian Championships held in Xian, China in the 74kg category winning a silver medal.
Parveen Rana though played in 79kg weight division in the Asian Championships but the way his supporters clashed with Sushil’s at the KD Jadhav Indoor Stadium during Commonwealth Games trials a couple of years ago adds spice to the contest.
Men’s trials, scheduled at Sports Authority of India centre in Bhalgarh, will be organised in six Olympic weight categories (57 kg, 65 kg, 74 kg, 86 kg, 97 kg and 125 kg). The women’s trials will also be held in six Olympic weight categories (50 kg, 53 kg, 57 kg, 62 kg, 68 kg and 76 kg) at the SAI centre in Lucknow. Trials for the remaining four weight categories each in men’s and women’s categories will be held in August.
The federation also said that any wrestler who was named in the national camp but has skipped it won’t be allowed to take part in the trials. “Around four to five wrestlers are likely to be debarred as they skipped the national camp. However, the heavyweights are unlikely to get affected by it,” a wrestling coach said.