CHENNAI: TOP male wrestlers including Bajrang Punia, Deepak Punia and Ravi Dahiya will skip the 64th Men, Freestyle and 22nd Women Senior National Wrestling Championship scheduled in Jalandhar from November 29 to December 1. All of them have already booked Olympic quotas by winning medals at World Championships in September. Sushil Kumar (74kg) is also likely to miss the event as he is scheduled to train abroad with his foreign coach.
“I am fit now and have started training but I will not take part in the nationals,” Bajrang, who won a 65kg bronze in Worlds, told this daily. Deepak, who injured his eye and left ankle en route his silver in the 86kg weight category, has also started training. Ravi and Deepak are expected to train with new coach Murad Gaidarov. “I will not compete in Jalandhar,” said Ravi. The wrestler also confirmed that he instead will train in Russia with the new coach.
Even as their male counterparts are giving the tournament a miss, elite female wrestlers including Vinesh Phogat (53kg) and Sakshi Malik (62kg) are set to participate. Vinesh was the lone woman wrestler to bag an Olympic quota during the Worlds. “We are at Vinesh’s in-laws’ place in Kharkhoda, Sonepat. She will compete in the nationals,” Woller Akos, her Hungarian coach said.
Sakshi’s participation was confirmed by Kuldeep Malik, Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) and India women’s national coach. “All top women wrestlers from Railways including Vinesh, Sakshi and Seema Bisla (50kg) will compete.”
The Railways women’s team is camping in Delhi, while the men are in Phagwara, Punjab. Haryana’s Pooja Dhanda (57kg), however, will miss the event.
RSPB will organise selection trials to pick wrestlers on November 18. They won the overall championships in all the three styles — freestyle, Greco-Roman and women’s wrestling — in 2018, and have the privilege of fielding two wrestlers in each category. A total of 28 states and two sports promotion boards — RSPB and Services (SSPB) — will be in the fray.
A team has to send entries to Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) at least 10 days before the event. “Once we receive the lists, then only we can confirm participation,” Vinod Tomar, WFI assistant secretary said.