FILA change to hit Indian wrestlers

FILA change to hit Indian wrestlers

Weight divisions tweaked for Rio; Sushil, Yogeshwar need to switch

 Two freestyle weight categories (60kg and 66 kg) in which India won three Olympic medals in the last two Games have been scrapped by the world body FILA from the 2016 Rio Games and the men affected are Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt.

The decision to drop the two categories was taken by FILA on Tuesday in Geneva while tweaking the 18 weight divisions and this reworking has hit the Indian wrestlers hard.  The move was made to bring in more women’s weight divisions.

The light classes in men’s freestyle will be 57 and 65 kilograms instead of 55kg, 60kg and 66kg while in Greco-Roman, the two light classes will be 59kg and 66kg rather than 55kg, 60kg and 66kg as in the London Olympics.

Double Olympic medallist Sushil — bronze in 2008 Beijing Games and silver in 2012 London Games — fought in the 66kg freestyle category, while Yogeshwar won the 60kg bronze in London.

Sushil and Yogeshwar will now have to move into the new weight categories.
Sushil was confident that they would be able to overcome this challenge.

“It is a setback for Indian wrestlers, but I am confident that we will overcome it. The decision has not only affected India but other countries as well.

“We had strong medal chances in both the 60kg and the 66kg category,” Sushil said.
Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) secretary general Raj Singh said the FILA decision will be a blow to Indian wrestling. “The decision will affect Indian wrestling. We had high hopes from both the categories because we have won three medals in the last two Olympics. But it will affect other countries as well,” Singh said.

Yogeshwar conceded that the latest rule change threw a spanner in the prepartions for 2016 that had already commenced.

“We had already made extensive training plans for the 2016 Games. Now everything will have to be reworked. Maybe, I would settle for the 65kg category instead of going down to 57kg which is unsuitable for my height,” Yogeshwar said.

Sushil’s coach and father-in-law Satpal feels that he should go into the 65kg category as it is the nearest to the division he has been fighting in. Another long time coach Yashvir Singh wants him to go into the 74 kg weight category by putting on eight kilos to improve his chances.

Both Satpal and Yashbir concede that the tweaking will have some adverse affect on the chances of the two winning medals in Rio.

“I think the world body has something against India. We were doing really well in the 60kg and the 66kg categories and now they have suddenly removed the two categories from the next Olympics. It will surely affect our medal prospects. We were targeting 5-6 medals in Rio and now we have to re-draw our plans,” Satpal, a 1982 Asian Games gold medallist, said.

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