Agra, Noida and a city in Punjab will host the national wrestling championships to prepare for the Olympic qualification tournaments.
If things go as planned, the Senior National Wrestling Championships will be held across three venues in northern India early next year.
Scheduled to be held over three weekends in January-February in Noida, Arga and a yet-to-be-confirmed city in Punjab, the wrestling event will be the third national meet to be organised in India post the COVID-19 pandemic.
While sailing held its national meet in Mumbai last month, the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) is planning its nationals in January in Sonepat and Indore.
With the Asian Wrestling Championships, the Asian Olympic Qualifiers and the World Olympic Qualifiers scheduled in the new year, the national wrestling meet is expected to play a key role in deciding the Indian contingent for the international events.
“It is important to begin our activities. The qualification tournaments for the Olympics will start soon and for that, we need to make sure our wrestlers are in top condition,” Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of Wrestling Federation of India told Indian Express.
“Each state is allowed to send just one wrestler in each category. Holding the championships in three cities will ensure there is no overcrowding at one venue.”
The senior nationals could be the first event to see the much-talked-about five-way battle in the 74kg freestyle category.
With Maharashtra’s Narsingh Yadav returning to competitive action, the 74kg division will see Gourav Baliyan, Jitender Kinha and Parveen Rana fight it out for the top honours along with the two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar.
The national wrestling meet will also be the first competitive outing for Indian aces Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat, who have given the ongoing Individual World Cup a skip to focus on their training.