Commonwealth Games and Asian Games gold medalists from India, from the same year, will be competing at the 2018 Wrestling National Championships. Yes, we are talking about ace wrestlers Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat, who will be India’s two ‘only’ hopes in the absence of male wrestlers in the competition.
The Tata Motors 63rd Men’s Wrestling Nationals and 21st Women’s Senior National Championships has begun from Friday, 30th November at Nandini Nagar Sports Complex, Gonda, Uttar Pradesh.
While the injured Vinesh Phogat will be back in action to test her fitness at the tournament, India’s only female wrestler to win an Olympic medal, Sakshi Malik will be looking for a strong re-inventive performance.
The 24-year old Vinesh is competing in the 57 kg category which is quite a surprise. The Indian wrestler usually fights in the 50-kg weight discipline in which she has already won three gold medals this year. Vinesh has been in an incredible form pre her elbow injury (having historical wins at Gold Coast and Jakarta) and will be giving a tough fight to her competitors in the event.
Vinesh Phogat, ahead of the National Championships said, “I know a lot of wrestlers from the senior camp but there will be a lot of juniors competing for the first time. I don’t know many of them, so I have to see how it goes.”
“For Nationals I won’t reduce weight. The competition there won’t be very strong and I have several important tournaments coming up in the next few months, so I have to be consistent in maintaining (weight) for those events,” Vinesh told PTI.
Adding to it, the Railways athlete said, “Now I have a chance to restart with the Nationals. I won’t say it is warm-up for me but it is good if I get into some competitions before bigger tournaments ahead. It helps on getting that mindset.”
Sakshi’s chance to uplift her career graph after a nosedive phase
On the other hand, Indian wrestler Sakshi Malik’s career graph has taken a dip after she won the bronze medal at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016. She returned empty-handed from the Asian Games and World Championship.
The 62-kg event will be a sure-shorted battle between Sakshi Malik and Geeta Phogat.-- Advertisement --
Similar to Sakshi is another Indian wrestler Sushil Kumar, who is struggling to get back to his top-notch performance. He is not participating in the event along with Bajrang Punia, who is injured.
— Sakshi Malik (@SakshiMalik) November 28, 2018
Ritu Malik, who had lost the bronze at Budapest, will compete in the 65kg while Railways’ Navjot Kaur will compete in 68kg.
The absence of ace wrestlers will be a little disappointment, but it will also see a new line of Indian wrestlers in 74 kg and 65kg categories and will be exciting to see how they perform.
The new lineup includes Jitender Kumar and Vinod, in 77kg and 74 kg respectively.
What is significant about this championship is the contracts that will be awarded on the opening day of the competitions.
The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) will announce the names of the grapplers who will figure in seven categories of contracts with the highest bracket (A) offering Rs 30 lakh.
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