Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat in India’s Matteo Pellicone squad

A 34-member Indian wrestling squad has been named for the tournament in Rome.

By Utathya Nag ·

All four Tokyo Olympics-bound Indian wrestlers, including Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat, have been named in India’s team for the Matteo Pellicone Rome Rankings Series wrestling tournament, which will be held from March 4 to 7.

The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), on Tuesday, announced the 34-member squad for the Rome event.

Rio 2016 bronze-medallist Sakshi Malik and rival Sonam Malik have been named in the women’s 62kg weight class. Sonam had beaten Sakshi for the senior national wrestling title last month.

Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Ravi Kumar Dahiya and Deepak Punia – the four Indian grapplers who have qualified for Tokyo – unsurprisingly, made it in the team.

While Ravi Dahiya and Deepak Punia marked their return to action in December at the Individual World Cup in Belgrade, Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia have been off competitive action on the international stage since last year.

Bajrang Punia, however, did compete in an invitational FloWrestling event and an exhibition bout in the USA, but these were not official competitions.

Vinesh, meanwhile, last competed at the Asian championships held in New Delhi in February last year before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

Sandeep Singh Mann, who recently won the senior nationals in the men’s 74kg category, is also in the 31-member shortlist. The youngster will be competing in his maiden senior international event with his eyes set firmly on making it to the Tokyo Olympics.

The Matteo Pellicone Rome Rankings Series won’t be a qualifying tournament for Tokyo but will have ranking points on offer, which will impact seedings for wrestlers who eventually travel to Tokyo.

Wrestlers who are yet to qualify for Tokyo 2020 will get two more opportunities to book their berth. The first will be at the Asian championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan from April 9 to 11.

They will also get one last chance at the world Olympic qualifiers which will be held in Sofia, Bulgaria, from May 6 to 9.

Full Indian wrestling team for Matteo Pellicone Rome Rankings Series 2021

Freestyle men’s

Ravi Kumar Dahiya (57kg), Pankaj (57kg), Bajrang Punia (65kg), Rohit (65kg), Vishal Kaliraman (70kg), Narsingh Yadav (74kg), Jitender (74kg), Sandeep Singh Mann (74kg), Rahul Rathi (79kg), Deepak Punia (86kg), Parveen Chahar (86kg), Praveen (92kg), Satyawart Kadian (97kg), Sumit Malik (125kg)

Women’s wrestling

Meenakshi (50kg), Vinesh Phogat (53kg), Nandini Bajirao Salokhe (53kg), Anshu Malik (57kg), Sarita Mor (59kg), Sakshi Malik (62kg), Sonam Malik (62kg), Nisha (65kg), Anita (68kg), Kiran (76kg)

Men’s Greco Roman wrestling

Arjun Halakurki (55kg), Manish (60kg), Neeraj (63kg), Gaurav Duhoon (67kg), Kuldeep Malik (72kg), Gurpreet Singh (77kg), Harpreet Singh (82kg), Sunil Kumar (87kg), Deepanshu (97kg), Naveen (130kg)