CHENNAI: As was expected, the Commonwealth Wrestling Championships scheduled to be held in Pretoria, South Africa from December 3 to 5 have been postponed due to the new Covid variant, Omicron.
"The tournament has been postponed. The organisers have communicated the decision to every participating nation," Vinod Tomar, WFI's assistant secretary, told this daily.
The Wrestling Federation of India has decided to field two teams (two wrestlers in each weight category of the three styles — men's freestyle, Greco-Roman and women's wrestling) in the event. The top-two finishers of each weight division from the senior nationals were selected for the national squad.
The first batch of the wrestlers was expected to leave the country on Tuesday night. While the country's top wrestlers like Bajrang Punia, Ravi Dahiya, and Anshu Malik have decided to skip the tournament, a few renowned names like Geeta Phogat and junior grapplers were waiting anxiously for the tournament to assess their preparations especially with marquee events like Asian Games and Commonwealth Games (CWG) scheduled next year.
"It's disappointing but that's the time we are living in due to the pandemic. We have to be mentally and physically strong in these tough times. I hope the federation holds a national camp so that we can continue with our preparations," Geeta, who had become India's first woman wrestler to win CWG gold in 2010, told this daily. She finished second in 59kg to be selected for the championships.
The United World Wrestling, the world's governing body, has not yet announced the new schedule but sources expect the event to be rescheduled to March.
"It is learned that the event could be held next year in March. If it happens then the same team will be sent. However, if it gets delayed further then we have to decide," informed a WFI source.