CHENNAI: Sports Authority of India (SAI) is aiming to resume national camps for wrestlers in Olympic weight categories. It has asked the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) to take views of the grapplers on the resumption before taking a final call. While a decision in this regard is likely next week, a few elite wrestlers are expected to skip the camp for varied reasons.
Women wrestlers like Sakshi Malik and Pooja Dhanda have already expressed their reservations citing the prevalent situation in the wake of the pandemic and the list is bound to swell as Bajrang Punia (65kg) and Jitender Kinha (74kg) are also unlikely to join the camp till the month end. The duo was training in Sonepat before moving to Inspire Institute of Sport (IIS) in Vijayanagar, Karnataka.
“We (I and Jitender) moved here last month. Our physiotherapist Manish Chhatri is also with us. We recently completed a 14-day mandatory quarantine period at the institute. I got a call from the freestyle coach but again if I go back to Sonepat, I have to self-isolate myself before joining the camp,” Bajrang, who had qualified for the 2021 Olympics, told this daily.
The camp, if it happens, will have two wrestlers each from five Olympic weight categories in the men’s and women’s categories apart from two grapplers each in three Greco-Roman weight divisions. However, the absence of star wrestlers like Bajrang and Sakshi can severely dent the chance of it happening in the near future.
“I would have loved to join the camp but given the situation, I will prefer to stay here at least till the month-end before reassessing the situation,” added the Haryana wrestler. Meanwhile, speaking on his stint at the IIS, the 26-year-old said, “The gymnasium here is fully equipped.
A physical trainer helps us in our workout which is good as we were on our own at my flat in Sonepat with limited gym equipment. Besides, the wrestling hall gives us an opportunity to work on our moves.” The wrestlers though have been training twice a day since the lockdown but the sessions have become more intense since their arrival at the JSW centre. “We spend four hours in the morning in the gym and follow it up with four hours of wrestling training in the evening.”