Four Indian wrestlers - Vinesh Phogat (Women’s Freestyle 53 kg), Bajrang Punia (Men’s Freestyle 65 kg), Ravi Kumar Dahiya (Men’s Freestyle 57 kg) and Deepak Punia (Men’s Freestyle 86 kg) - have secured their spot for the Tokyo Olympics and Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has high hopes from them.
The WFI president believes that the Indian wrestling contingent can bring home at least four medals from the Tokyo Olympics despite big names like Sushil Kumar, Sakshi Malik, Sonam Malik and Pooja Dhanda still looking to make the cut. They are set to compete at the World Olympic qualifiers, starting on April 29, which may well be their final chance to qualify.
"I am very hopeful that this time in the Olympics we will bag four medals. Last time also I had expected three medals, but due to the controversies and Vinesh getting injured it was our bad luck (that we didn't). But this year I am very hopeful and confident that our athletes will definitely get four medals," Brij Bhushan told ANI.
The WFI hopes to build an Olympic center for all its premier athletes in Noida, Uttar Pradesh and has proposed the state government to allot land for the same.
"I have proposed the Chief Minister to give us land for the wrestling field and CM will take a call on it. I am sure that the Olympic center will be built in Noida," said Brij Bhushan said.
Furthermore, he also explained the difficulties faced by the federation while organizing the 65th national freestyle senior wrestling championship during the pandemic and added that the Indian wrestlers' performance was impacted due to lack of competition.
"It was a big challenge to organise this tournament. In the World Cup in which our wrestlers participated and won silver medals, I realised that due to no competitions our players were struggling and that impacted performance," he said.
"We used to organise Greco-Roman, men's freestyle and women's freestyle together but this time due to COVID-19 and keeping in mind the social distancing (protocols) and hygiene we have segregated this tournament in three different parts," he added.