CHENNAI: As expected, Sports Authority of India (SAI) deferred its plan to restart the wrestling camp after elite wrestlers expressed apprehensions over the move in the wake of the pandemic. SAI will get in touch with the wrestlers again in the first week of August to decide on the future course of action.
SAI, through Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), which is de-recognised, sought views of these grapplers on resuming the camp, which was suspended in mid-March.
“Only a few wrestlers were ready, but most of them, including the Olympic medal prospects, were averse,” WFI assistant secretary Vinod Tomar told this daily. “Most of them have been training at home. They were of the view that it’s better to stay at home till the end of this month and then reassess.” The plan was to hold camp in limited categories. Five each in men’s freestyle (57kg, 65kg, 74kg, 86kg and 125kg) and women’s wrestling (50kg, 53kg, 57kg, 62kg and 68kg) were shortlisted, and three — 60kg, 77kg and 87kg — from Greco-Roman.
Women wrestlers like Sakshi Malik and Pooja Dhanda were in favour of deferring the camp. Bajrang Punia also expressed his inability to join the camp immediately due to the safety protocols he has to follow after moving to Sonepat. SAI was planning to hold men’s camp in Sonepat and women’s camp in Lucknow as has been the practice for the past few years.
Worlds in December?
United World Wrestling (UWW), earlier this month, held the meeting of its executive board to develop an action plan for the remaining events in 2020. It was decided to postpone the Junior Worlds until December and combine it with the senior event. It was announced that Belgrade (Serbia) will host both the events.
The junior Worlds will be held from December 4 to 10 while the senior event will be organised from December 12 to 20. The board will reconvene in August to assess the situation. “The Worlds are expected to be the first international event for our wrestlers. We have time and the wrestlers would be well prepared, if we manage to resume the camp in August,” said Tomar.