CHENNAI: With only two days between the end of the 2022 World Championships (September 18) and the beginning of wrestling events at the Asian Games (September 21), many Asian countries, including India, are expected to recommend second choice names for the Worlds. The Worlds is slated to run from September 10 to 18 in Belgrade, Serbia while the wrestling competitions are scheduled to be held from September 21 to 24 in Hangzhou.
Given the situation, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has decided to select two teams during the trials scheduled next month. “We spoke to the world body and eventually decided to select two teams. The gold medallists from the trials will represent the country at the 2022 Commonwealth Games and Asiad while the silver medallists will compete at the Worlds,” Vinod Tomar, WFI’s assistant secretary, told this daily.
Over the years, the national federation has ensured to send the strongest possible team for the global event with the 2021 edition being the exception when six of seven Olympians from the country pulled out of the meet due to various reasons. Only Anshu Malik (57kg) among the Tokyo Olympians competed in Oslo, Norway where she created history by becoming the first Indian woman to clinch a silver.
The Worlds gains more significance a year before the Olympics as it also serves as the qualifier for the quadrennial event. Since 2010, India have won 16 medals including 1 gold, 4 silver and 11 bronze at the Worlds with 2019 being the most productive year for them when they had pocketed five medals with four of the medallists making the Olympic cut by virtue of their podium finish.
However, this year, the biggest stars from the country including Tokyo Olympic medallists — Bajrang Punia (65kg), Ravi Dahiya (57kg) and Anshu are unlikely to be seen in action at the championships unless they finish second at the trials. “After trials, the gold medallists will leave for Kazakhstan for the second Ranking Series of the year in June. They will then compete in the Rome Ranking Series in Italy apart from competing in Poland and the Grand Prix of Spain. They will either compete or train overseas in these two months,” he added.
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