Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi Malik and CWG Gold winner Vinesh Phogat will lead a six-member Indian women wrestling squad at the Asian Games to be held in Indonesia later this year.
Men’s and Women Wrestling Squad announced
Sakshi Malik, who won bronze medals in this year’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games as well as 2016 Rio Olympics, and Vinesh Phogat were exempted from the trials by the Wrestling Federation of India because of their current form and past performances, something that Sushil Kumar (74 kg) and Bajrang Punia (65kg) have been granted as well.
Sakshi and Vinesh will carry India’s hopes in the 50kg and 62kg freestyle categories even as four other wrestlers went through the trials to book their tickets for the Asian Games. Other women wrestlers who will be representing India at the Asian Games are Pinki (53kg), Pooja Dhanda (57kg), Divya Kakran (68kg) and Kiran (72kg).
Meanwhile, for the men squad, the likes of Sushil Kumar, Bajrang Punia, Pawan Kumar (86kg), Mausam Khatri (97kg) and Sumit (125kg) have booked their slots. Furthermore, for the 57kg category, re-trials have been scheduled after Rahul Aware, who won Gold at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast earlier this year. However, he didn’t show up at the event held in Sonepat.
As The Times of India quotes, Rahul had written a letter to WFI to give him a clean chit for the Asian Games in the 57-kg category since he too was a medallist at the Gold Coast, but he didn’t get any positives over it. “I thought that the exception will be made in my case. But I was shocked to learn about the WFI’s biased approach. Since 2014, I have defeated Amit twice during the Rio Olympics and CWG qualifiers. I have even defeated Sandeep on a couple of occasions during trials. I will approach the higher authorities,” Rahul was quoted by TOI.
In Rahul’s absence, the likes of Utkarsh Kale, Sandeep Tomar and Ravi battled for the squad but sensationally ended their bouts on equal points (14). That being said, re-trials have been scheduled on June 13.
Men’s Freestyle Team
57kg: Retrial; 65kg: Bajrang Punia; 74kg: Sushil Kumar; 86kg: Pawan Kumar; 97kg: Mausam Khatri; 125kg: Sumit; Greco Roman Team: 60kg: Gyanender; 67kg: Manish; 77kg: Gurpreet Singh; 87kg: Harpreet Singh; 97kg: Hardeep Singh; 130kg: Naveen.
The Asian Games will be held in Jakarta and Palembang from August 18 to September 2.