The Indian men’s freestyle wrestlers fared poorly at the World Championships as none of them could earn a quota for next year’s Paris Olympics or win a medal. What was even more disappointing was that the Indian wrestlers lost to rivals from countries not known for their wrestling skills, raising suspicions about their fitness before flying to Belgrade. Sachin Mor (79kg) lost his repechage round by technical superiority to North Macedonia’s Ahmad Magomedov, while Anuj Kumar (65kg) could not even complete the qualifying round, losing 7-8 to Mexican Austin Klee Gomez.
Mexico and North Macedonia are not the countries against which the Indians are expected to lose their battles.
It is learned that the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has suggested to the Sports Ministry to conduct a medical examination of the selected wrestlers before sending them for participation, saying many of them may have injuries.
“A few of the selected wrestlers are injured, especially a 65kg freestyle wrestler. I suggest that a medical examination be done before he leaves India so that the necessary replacement can be made in time,” wrote WFI Secretary General VN Prasood to the Sports Minister in September. 11 in his letter, a copy of which is in the possession of PTI.
India’s biggest hope, Aman Sehrawat (57kg), had lost to reigning world champion Zelimkhan Abakarov in the quarter-finals, but with the Russian-born wrestler failing to reach the final, the door to the rematch was closed for the Indian .
In the bronze 70kg play-off, Abhimanyu lost to Armenian Arman Andreasyan due to technical superiority.
Akash Dahiya (61kg), Naveen (74kg), Sachin Mor (79kg), Sandeep Singh Mann (86kg), Pruthviraj (92kg), Sahil (97kg) and Sumit (125kg) all fell at different stages of the tournament.
The next opportunity to fill the Olympic quota will come at the Asian and World Qualifiers next year.
All Indian wrestlers compete as neutral athletes as the world governing body UWW did not allow them to compete under the Indian flag.
This was because UWW suspended the WFI after the IOA-appointed ad hoc committee, headed by Bhupender Singh Bajwa, could not hold the elections on time.
Even if any of the Indian wrestlers – women or Greco-Roman – make the quota, they will belong to the IOA and to the wrestler who wins a place in next year’s Olympics.
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