With Tokyo in mind, Indian wrestlers Deepak Punia, Narsingh Yadav, Sakshi Malik and Sonam Malik will eye a quality show in Belgrade. Watch Individual World Cup live.
In a year where competitions have been far and few, Indian wrestlers will be keen to make the most of the opportunities at the Individual World Cup in Belgrade, Serbia.
The event, to be held at the Belgrade Fair from December 12 to 18, has replaced the World Wrestling Championships which was called off due to inadequate participation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Though the Individual World Cup will be shorn of star value, there will still be five reigning world champions and 26 medallists from last year’s world championships.
For the Indian wrestlers, this will be an opportunity to get some valuable competition before the Olympic year kicks in.
Leading the Indian charge will be Ravi Kumar and Deepak Punia.
For Ravi Kumar, a bronze medallist at the 2019 worlds, the Individual World Cup will be an opportunity to gauge his progress since the gold medal-winning performance at the Asian Wrestling Championships earlier this year.
Competing in the category will be the reigning world champion in the 57kg freestyle category, Zavur Uguev of Russia. The two-time world champion has lost just nine bouts since making his senior debut in 2016.
Meanwhile, for Deepak Punia, the Individual World Cup in Belgrade will be a platform to prove himself. The former junior world champion made an impressive start to his senior career with a silver at the world meet last year, where an injury had ruled him out of the final against Iran’s Hassan Yazdani.
Though Yazdani will not be in Belgrade, Osman Gocen of Turkey and Russian Dauren Kurugliev will pose a challenge to the Indians.
The Individual World Cup will also see India’s Narsingh Yadav return to the mat after a four-year absence due to a doping ban. He will represent India in the 74kg freestyle category.
With two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar, youngster Gaurav Baliyan, national champion Jitender Kinha and Parveen Rana competing for the sole berth in the Olympic weight division, Narisgh Yadav will look to use the Individual World Cup to stake his claim.
Former world champion and 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Frank Chamizo will also be competing in the 74kg category.
Meanwhile, in the women’s half, the Indians will have their eyes fixed on the 62kg category.
While Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik has slipped down the pecking order over the past few seasons, Sonam Malik, the young talent to replace her has found it hard to establish herself at the international level.
For both Sakshi and Sonam, the Individual World Cup will be key ahead of the national trials for the Olympic qualifiers coming up in the new year.
Sonam Malik will compete in the 62kg category at the Belgrade event while Sakshi Malik will be in action in the 65kg category, a non-Olympic weight division.
The 62kg category roster will also see reigning world champion Aisuluu Tynybekova of Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan’s Tetiana Omelchenko take to the mat.
In the Greco-Roman segment, Sunil Kumar (87kg) and Hardeep Singh (97kg) will be headlining the Indian challenge.
Sunil Kumar began the year on a bright note by ending a 27-year-long wait for a gold medal in the Greco-Roman category at the Asian meet while Hardeep Singh too returned with a bronze.
It would be interesting to see if the Indian wrestlers can return to the levels that they displayed at the start of the year in Belgrade.
55kg: Arjun Halakurki vs Andre Silva (POR)
60kg: Gyanender vs Armen Melikyan (ARM)
67kg: Ashu vs Atakan Yuksel (TUR)
72kg: Aditya Kundu vs Valentin Petic (MDA)
77kg: Sajan vs Pavel Liakh (BLR)
87kg: Sunil Kumar vs Fabio Parisi (ITA)
97kg: Hardeep Singh vs Mohammadhadi Saravi (IRI)
130kg: Naveen vs Eduard Popp (GER)
50kg: Nirmala Devi vs Anna Lukasiak (POL)
55kg: Pinki vs Olga Khoroshavtseva (RUS)
57kg: Anshu vs Alyona Kolesnik (AZE)
59kg: Sarita Mor vs Sandra Paruszewski (GER)
62kg: Sonam Malik vs Anna Szel (HUN)
65kg: Sakshi Malik vs Mimi Nikolova (BUL)
72kg: Gursharanpreet Kaur vs Buse Tosun (TUR)
78kg: Kiran vs Erica Wiebe (CAN)
57kg: Ravi Kumar vs Levan Vartanov (ESP)/ Gamzatgadzsi Halidov (HUN)
70kg: Naveen vs Shamil Ustaev (GER)
74kg: Narsingh Yadav vs Osman Cakici (GER)
79kg: Gourav Baliyan vs Aron Caneva (ITA)
86kg: Deepak Punia vs Ivars Samusonoks (LAT)
97kg: Satywart Kadian vs Ertugrul Agca (GER)
125kg: Sumit vs Egor Olar (MDA)
(GR = Greco-Roman, WW = Women’s Wrestling, FS = Men’s Wrestling,)
All times are Indian Standard Time (IST)
Saturday, December 12
3:30 PM IST - 7:30 PM IST: Qualification Rounds (GR - 55, 67, 72, 77, 87kg)
10:30 PM IST - 12:00 AM IST: Semi-finals (GR - 55, 67, 72, 77, 87kg)
Sunday, December 13
3:30 PM IST - 7:30 PM IST: Qualification Rounds (GR - 60. 63, 82, 97, 130kg)
3:30 PM IST - 7:30 PM IST: Repechage (GR - 55, 67, 72, 77, 87kg)
10:30 PM IST - 11:15 PM IST: Semi-finals (GR - 60. 63, 82, 97, 130kg)
11:30 PM IST - 2:30 AM IST: Finals (GR - 60. 63, 82, 97, 130kg)
Monday, December 14
3:30 AM IST - 6:30 PM IST: Qualification Rounds (WW - 50, 53, 55, 62, 72kg)
3:30 AM IST - 6:30 PM IST: Repechage (GR - 60. 63, 82, 97, 130kg)
9:30 PM IST - 10:15 PM IST: Semi-finals (WW - 50, 53, 55, 62, 72kg)
10:30 PM IST - 12:30 AM IST: Finals (GR - 60. 63, 82, 97, 130kg)
Tuesday, December 15
3:30 AM IST - 6:30 PM IST: Qualification Rounds (WW - 57, 59, 65, 68, 76kg)
3:30 AM IST - 6:30 PM IST: Repechage (WW - 50, 53, 55, 62, 72kg)
9:15 PM IST - 10:15 PM: Semi-finals (WW - 57, 59, 65, 68, 76kg)
10:30 PM IST - 1:00 AM IST: Finals (WW - 50, 53, 55, 62, 72kg)
Wednesday, December 16
3:30 AM IST - 6:30 PM IST: Qualification Rounds (FS - 57, 70, 74, 92, 125kg)
3:30 AM IST - 6:30 PM IST: Repechage (WW - 57, 59, 65, 68, 76kg)
9:15 PM IST - 10:15 PM: Semi-finals (FS - 57, 70, 74, 92, 125kg)
10:30 PM IST - 1:30 AM IST: Finals (WW - 57, 59, 65, 68, 76kg)
Thursday, December 17
3:30 AM IST - 6:30 PM IST: Qualification Rounds (FS - 61, 65, 79, 86, 97kg)
3:30 AM IST - 6:30 PM IST: Repechage (FS - 57, 70, 74, 92, 125kg)
9:15 PM IST - 10:15 PM: Semi-finals (FS - 61, 65, 79, 86, 97kg)
10:30 PM IST - 1:30 AM IST: Final (FS - 57, 70, 74, 92, 125kg)
Friday, December 18
8:00 PM IST - 10:00 PM IST: Repechage (FS - 61, 65, 79, 86, 97kg)
10:30 PM IST - 1:30 AM IST: Finals (FS - 61, 65, 79, 86, 97kg)
The 2020 Individual World Cup wrestling event will be live-streamed on wrestlingtv.in and you can watch the finals on Olympic Channel.
There will be no telecast of the Individual World Cup on any TV channel in India.