Quota-winning wrestlers to compete at Paris Olympics

As many as six Indian wrestlers including five women have earned a quota each for the sporting extravaganza.
The logo of Wrestling Federation of India, used for representative purposes only.
The logo of Wrestling Federation of India, used for representative purposes only. (Photo | Twitter)

AHMEDABAD: As was expected, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) on Tuesday decided not to hold selection trials and instead allow the quota winning wrestlers to represent the country at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

As many as six Indian wrestlers including five women have earned a quota each for the sporting extravaganza. While Antim Panghal (53kg) was the first Indian wrestler to earn a quota by winning bronze in the 2023 World Championships, Vinesh Phogat (50kg), Anshu Malik (57kg) and Reetika Hooda (76kg) booked Paris ticket by reaching finals of the Asian Olympic Games Qualifier. Nisha Dahiya (68kg) earned a quota in the last qualifying event by entering the final in her weight category at the World Olympic Games Qualifier. Only Aman Sehrawat (57) earned the quota in the men’s section through the last qualifier.

The WFI held a meeting of its selection committee in New Delhi on Tuesday. President Sanjay Kumar Singh chaired the meeting with chief coaches Virender Singh (women’s wrestling) and Jagmender Singh (men’s freestyle) along with members - Olympic medallist Yogeshwar Dutt, Jai Prakash, WFI vice-president and SP Deshwal, WFI treasurer - also attending the meeting.

The chief coaches pointed out that wrestling is a physical contact sport and there are high chances of selected wrestlers getting injured during the selection trials. Besides, they also said that all the qualified wrestlers are best in their respective weight categories so they should represent the country. They also said that the last date to send entries for the Games is July 8 and if any qualified wrestler gets injured that a selection trial can be held to name the replacement,” a source in the know of developments told this daily.

Notably, all the four women wrestlers along with Aman have expressed their concerns over the proposed selection trials saying they are left with no time in preparing for the Games and should be exempted from the trials. The four women wrestlers except Vinesh even requested the WFI not to hold trials.

Selection committee member and former wrestler Geetika Jakhar, who attended the meeting through video conferencing, opined that it is very difficult to maintain weight before trials and protect yourself from unexpected injuries. “It was unanimously decided by the selection committee that all the quota earning wrestlers have been exempted from the selection trials for the Paris Olympic Games but only as a one time exception in the current peculiar circumstances,” added the WFI source.

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