India’s wrestling season will get underway this weekend with the senior national wrestling championships at the Chandra Mauli Pandey Kushti Academy in Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
The two-day event starting on Saturday will be the first of the three national wrestling meets this year to be conducted at different venues for various disciplines. The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) took this decision given the COVID-19 pandemic situation in India.
The competition in Noida will see a strict implementation of the COVID-19 protocols. Participants will have to furnish negative RT-PCR reports a day before their event, referees will wear facemasks, mats will be frequently sanitised and so on.
The nationals, in its 65th edition, will also be the first sporting event in India to allow fans inside the venue following the directives issued by the central government last month. But the numbers will be restricted to a maximum of 200 or 50 per cent of the venue capacity.
All eyes on Narsingh Yadav and 74kg battle
With the Olympics around the corner, the focus will be on Narsingh Yadav, who made a competitive return at the Individual World Cup last month, but his performance left a lot to be desired.
Narsingh Yadav will be keen to impress in Noida, especially with the national trials slated ahead of the Olympic qualifiers in April. Competing in the 74kg category, the former world championships medallist will be up against the likes of Jitender Kumar and Amit Dhankar.
Jitender Kumar is a silver medallist from the Asian wrestling championships last year while Amit Dhankar is a former Asian champion.
Meanwhile, youngster Gourav Baliyan will start favourite in the 79kg category while Satyawart Kadian looks good to retain his title in the 97kg weight division in the absence of the former Asian Games bronze medallist Mausam Khatri.
Senior national wrestling championships schedule
All timings are Indian Standard Time (IST)
Saturday, January 23
Qualification and repechage (57, 61, 74, 92, 125kg) - 9:30 AM IST - 1:00 PM IST
Final (57, 61, 74, 92, 125kg) - 3:00 PM IST - 6:00 PM IST
Sunday, January 24
Qualification and repechage (65, 70, 79, 86, 97kg) - 9:30 AM IST - 1:00 PM IST
Final (65, 70, 79, 86, 97kg) - 3:00 PM IST - 6:00 PM IST
Where to watch senior national wrestling championships live?
There will be no telecast of the senior national wrestling championships. But Indian wrestling fans can catch the action via live streaming on WrestlingTV.