Indians hope to strike it rich

Buoyed by wrestling’s re-inclusion in the Olympic Games, a 22-strong Indian team of grapplers will fight out it against a strong international field in the World Championships starting here on Monday.

After bagging two medals at the London Olympics, Indian wrestlers would be hoping to script another success story at the week-long championships.

The sport received a massive boost after it was endorsed by the International Olympic Committee to rejoin the Olympic movement as an additional sport for the 2020 and 2024 Games.

Being held after an Olympic year, the championships will begin with men’s freestyle competition (September 16-18) followed by women’s freestyle (18-20) and Greco-Roman (20-22) at the Papp Laszlo Sports Arena.

Sushil recovering

India’s only gold in the World Championships has come through two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar who won in the 66kg freestyle category in 2010.

Sushil last played a competitive bout at the London Olympics where he lost in the gold medal match.

A shoulder injury has kept the 30-year-old out of action for over an year, but Sushil said “it has completely healed now”.

Arun Kumar has been named stand-by for Sushil in the 22-member team.
India will, however, be without London Olympics bronze-medallist Yogeshwar Dutt, who is nursing a nagging knee injury.

His place has been taken by Bajrang (60kg).

Squad: Freestyle: Amit Kumar (55kg), Bajrang (60kg), Arun Kumar/ Sushil Kumar (66kg), Narsingh Pancham Yadav (74kg), Pawan Kumar (84kg), Satyawart Kadian (96kg), Hitender (120kg). Greco Roman: Gaurav Sharma (55kg), Ravinder Singh (60kg), Sandeep Tulsi Yadav (66kg), Rajbir Chhikara (74kg), Harpreet Singh (84kg), Hardeep (96kg), Naveen (120kg).

Women: Nirmala Devi (48kg), Vinesh (51kg), Pooja Dhanda (55kg), Geeta (59kg), Geetika Jakhar (63kg), Navjot Kaur (67kg), Jyoti (72kg).

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