The senior women’s national wrestling championships will begin on Saturday at Agra's Holy Light Senior Secondary School.
Like the men’s freestyle event held last week, the Agra meet will be the season-opener for Indian women wrestlers. The gold medallists in this meet will make it to the Indian team for the Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series in March.
Spotlight on Sakshi Malik
The 28-year-old Sakshi hasn’t had much success since her Olympic glory. She claimed a bronze medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast (62kg) and a silver at the 2020 Asian wrestling championships, in the 65kg category, a non-Olympic weight division.
But besides the two, Sakshi hasn’t made it to a medal-round in any of the big-ticket events.
At the national championships, Sakshi Malik is competing in the 62kg weight category, in which she hopes to make the cut for Tokyo 2020. However, she is in for some serious challenge with the rising star Sonam Malik holding sway in the weight division.
Other notable participants at the national meet include the silver medallist from the Individual World Cup, Anshu Malik (57kg), Asian champion Divya Kakran (68kg), Kiran and Gursharanpreet Kaur (both 76kg).
India have so far managed one Olympic quota in women's wrestling for Tokyo 2020 following Vinesh Phogat’s triumph at the 2019 world championships. The Asian Games gold medallist, however, has decided to skip the national meet as Vinesh continues with her Olympic preparations in Europe.
The nationals will be organised as per the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to counter COVID-19 laid down by the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) in consultation with the Sports Authority of India (SAI).
This includes frequent sanitisation of the mats and referees sporting face masks, among others. However, with spectators allowed for the event, it remains to be seen if the organisers can limit the number to 50 per cent of the capacity as per the SOPs.
Senior women’s national wrestling championships schedule
All timings are Indian Standard Time (IST)
Saturday, January 30
Qualification and repechage (50, 55, 57, 62, 72kg) - 9:30 AM IST - 1:00 PM IST
Final (50, 55, 57, 62, 72kg) - 3:00 PM IST - 6:00 PM IST
Sunday, January 31
Qualification and repechage (53, 59, 65, 68, 76kg) - 9:30 AM IST - 1:00 PM IST
Final (53, 59, 65, 68, 76kg) - 3:00 PM IST - 6:00 PM IST
Where to watch senior women’s national wrestling championships live?
There will be no telecast of the event on any TV channel in India.