Indian wrestlers yet to qualify for the 2020 Olympics will have to wait till beyond March to secure a berth in sports’ showpiece event.
Originally scheduled to take place from March 27 to 29 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, the Asian Olympic wrestling qualifiers have been postponed indefinitely after concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.
This comes after the qualifiers were shifted from Xi’an in China and moved to Bishkek due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Indian wrestlers hoping to secure more quotas
The Wrestling Federation of India had named a 14-member squad for the qualifiers having already booked quotas in four of the 18 Olympic wrestling categories.
Ravi Dahiya (57kg), Bajrang Punia (65kg), Deepak Punia (86kg) and Vinesh Phogat (53kg) are the four Indian wrestlers who have secured a quota for the 2020 Olympics.
Gold Medallists at the Asian Wrestling Championships in New Delhi Sunil Kumar and Divya Kakran along with Sonam Malik and Jitender Kumar are also strong Indian contenders eyeing a ticket to Tokyo 2020.
However, the wrestling qualifiers were deferred for a second time after the Kyrgyzstan government’s directive to postpone all sporting events in the country until further notice.
The Kyrgyzstan government took the decision in an operational meeting and the State Agency for Youth, Physical Culture and Sports of Kyrgyzstan explained.
“At an operational meeting led by director of the State Agency Kanat Amankulov, it was decided to postpone a number of major international sports events planned in Kyrgyzstan to later dates,” they said.
One of India’s strong suits in their quest for medals in Tokyo, they will be hoping to secure more than the four qualification quotas that they have managed so far.
While Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat are expected to lead from the front, youngsters like Deepak Punia and Divya Kakran - who is yet to secure a quota for the 2020 Olympics but tipped for a bright future - will also be looking to make an impact.
Freestyle: Jitender (74kg), Satyawart Kadian (97kg), Sumit (125kg)
Greco-Roman: Gyanender (60kg), Ashu (67kg), Sajan (77kg), Sunil Kumar (87kg), Hardeep (97kg), Naveen (130kg)
Women Wrestling: Nirmala Devi (50kg), Anshu (57kg), Sonam Malik (62kg), Divya Kakran (68kg), Kiran (76kg)