India fields 14-man contingent at World Wrestling Olympic Qualifiers

Story by  ATV | Posted by  Sumana | Date 08-05-2024
Deepak Punia
Deepak Punia



India is fielding a 14-man squad for the World Wrestling Olympic Qualifiers scheduled in Istanbul from Thursday, the last chance for wrestlers to obtain their quotas for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

The 14 wrestlers include Aman Sehrawat and Deepak Punia, as per The event will conclude on May 12.

The two finalists in each weight divisions will earn the Olympic quotas for their respective nations, with three quotas on offer in each weight class. The third quota will go to the winner of the playoff match between two bronze medalists of a particular weight class.

So far, India has secured only four quotas in wrestling for the multi-sporting extravaganza, with all of them achieved by women's wrestlers.

Antim Panghal (53 kg) helped India secure its first quota at the 2023 World Wrestling Championships while during the Asian Olympic Qualifiers held last month, Vinesh Phogat (50kg), Anshu Malik (57kg) and Reetika Hooda (76kg) added three more quotas to the list.

In women's wrestling, Mansi Ahlawat and Nisha, in 62 kg and 68 kg respectively, will be India's only representatives at Istanbul. Mansi had fallen short of one win during the Asian Olympic Qualifiers in Bishkek but will be aiming to go one step better and secure the quota.

India has won five medals in freestyle wrestling during the previous four editions of the Summer Olympics, with two of them coming at Tokyo 2020.

But heading into the Paris 2024, Indian participation in men's freestyle wrestling looks highly bleak. It is up to the Aman Sehrawat, a former Asian and U23 world champion, and Olympian Deepak Punia to secure a quota in the freestyle category and restore India's good fortunes.

Aman, competing in the same weight division as the Tokyo 2020 silver medalist Ravi Dahiya, fell one win short of a quota as well at the Bishkek Asian Olympic Qualifiers meet.

Deepak Punia, who also missed out on a medal during the Tokyo 2020 and Sujeet Kalakal, who is competing in the same division as Bajrang Punia, the Tokyo 2020 bronze medalist, could not play at the Bishkek qualifiers as their flights were delayed due to heavy rainfall in Dubai. But both have a chance to play in Istanbul and get their quotas now.

India will also be looking to get the quotas for all six Greco-Roman wrestling categories.

*Indian wrestlers at World Wrestling Olympic Qualifiers 2024

Men's Greco-Roman: Sumit (60kg), Ashu (67kg), Vikas (77kg), Sunil Kumar (87kg), Nitesh (97kg), Naveen (130kg)

Women's freestyle: Mansi (62kg), Nisha (68kg)

Men's freestyle: Aman Sehrawat (57kg), Sujeet (65kg), Jaideep (74kg), Deepak Punia (86kg), Deepak (97kg), Sumit (125kg).