Wrestling trials for the Olympic qualifiers set

The selection meet will decide the Indian team for the Asian Olympic Qualifiers and the Asian Championships scheduled for next year.

By Olympic Channel Writer ·

The Indian wrestling team for the Asian Olympic Qualifiers scheduled to be held in March 2020 will be decided following a selection trial in the first week of January. Though the federation is yet to confirm the dates, it is understood that the trials are likely to be held on January 10-11.

With four quota places already sealed (men’s freestyle 57kg, 65kg, 86kg, and women’s freestyle 53kg), the Indian team will be hoping to book a place in the remaining categories at the qualifiers in Xi'an, China from March 27-29.

The Indians will be fielding a grappler in the 74kg, 97kg and 125kg men’s freestyle, 50kg, 57kg, 62kg, 68kg, 76kg women’s, and all the Greco-Roman weight divisions at the Asian event.

If they are to draw a blank at the continental qualification, the Indians will have another chance at making the cut for Tokyo 2020 at the World Olympic Qualifiers in Sofia, Bulgaria the following April.

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The participants

The WFI is expected to extend an invitation to all the gold medallists from the recently held Senior National Championships, the medallists from the U-23 World Wrestling Championships, and the wrestlers who were forced to skip the Nationals owing to illness or injury.

The list will also include the grapplers who competed in various non-Olympic weight categories but are willing to move to the closest Olympic category to have a crack at making it to the 2020 Tokyo Games.

The trials could see some exciting matchups with the likes of the two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar going up against upcoming sensation Gaurav Baliyan.

Balyaian, who won the Senior National Championships gold before nailing another title at the South Asian Games, will be poised to take on the Indian legend in his bid to grab a chance to have a shot at his maiden Olympic bow.

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In the women’s section, eyes will on the Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik, Pooja Dhanda and Sarita Mor among others, as they will fight it out to make the Indian team in the Olympic year.

The Asian dream

The selection trials next month will also see the team for the Asian Championships being decided. The continental event is slated to be held from February 18-23, with New Delhi being the likely venue.

The WFI has exempted Bajrang Punia, the top-draw wrestler in the 65kg freestyle category, from the trials for the continental event, while the duo of Deepak Punia (86kg) and Ravi Dahiya (57kg), who sealed a quota place for the Olympics at the World Championships earlier this year, will have to turn up for the selection.