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Indian men's wrestling team declared for the Asian Championships

FILE PHOTO: Sushil Kumar

The city of New Delhi is once again gearing up to host the cream of the wrestling talent from the continent as grapplers from Asia converge here for the 2013 Senior Asian Wrestling Championship. The fight for the continental crown will be played at the KD Jadhav Wrestling Stadium, IG Sports Complex from 18th to 22nd April, 2013.

Since the inception of the tournament, India has organized the Asian Championships a record five times, including the inaugural edition of the championship that was held at Jalandhar in 1979. Delhi will play host to the tournament a fourth time this year around. The continental meet will witness the top Asian wrestlers fight it out for the coveted title in what promises to be a gallant display of strength and skill. Asian grapplers proved to be the strongest at the 2012 London Olympics, bagging 23 out of the 72 medals on offer. More than 20 countries are expected to take part in this edition of the Asian Championship. Strong wrestling nations like Iran who bagged the 2012 continental title in both, Freestyle and Greco Roman along with Japan, Korea, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Mongolia have already confirmed their entries for the event.

India has a fairly good track record at the continental championships; in the last three editions of the tournament, Indian wrestlers have won 15 medals, including five at 2012 Asian Championships that was held at Gumi, South Korea. With the home ground advantage once again in their favour, the Indian contingent will look to increase their medal count on the continental mats. Chief National Coach Vinod Kumar believes that the level of the competition in the tournament is going to be top notch and it will not be very easy to reach to the medal rounds.

He said, “Asia did really well at the 2012 London Olympic and the continental championship will be one to look for. We can expect to see a number of Olympic and World Champions”. Talking about Indian’s chances, he expressed, “Our training has been of a very high standard, we have focused on all aspects of the game. No doubt the nature of the competition is going to be tough and unpredictable, but we are hoping to match last year’s performance, if not better it.”

The Wrestling Federation of India is pleased to announce the Indian Men’s Greco Roman and Freestyle Wrestling teams that will constitute the Indian challenge at the Asian Championships. Spearheading the Indian attack at the Asian championships will be two time Olympic medallist and former world champion Sushil Kumar. Since the London Olympics, the 29-year-old has been battling a shoulder injury, but the ace grappler is now fit and looking to make his return with a good performance at the Asian meet.

He said, “The Asian championships will be played in front of our home crowd and will be a good opportunity for me to return after the injury. We have been training hard at the national camp, keeping in the mind the expected competition and I am confident of a good performance.” Kumar will arguably be one of the top contenders to bag the title in the 66 kg freestyle weight division, although he is expected to face some stiff opposition from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Iran and other Asian talents.

FILE PHOTO: Yogeshwar Dutt

Accompanying Sushil will be bronze medal winner at the 2012 London Olympics and reigning Asian champion Yogeshwar Dutt, who will be wrestling in the 60 kilogram freestyle weight division. Yogeshwar also has been battling a knee injury, but is recovered now and hopes to be back on the mats in the Asian Championships. Olympian and 2012 Asian Championship bronze medallist Amit Kumar will also be seen in action at New Delhi in the freestyle 55 kg weight division along with another 2012 continental bronze medal winner Deepak in the 74 kg weight. Olympian and 2010 Commonwealth Games Gold medallist Narsingh Yadav will make a bid for the yellow metal in the 84 kg weight category.

In the Greco Roman style, Asian Games bronze medallist Ravinder Singh and Sunil Rana will lead the Indian charge in the 60kg and 66kg categories respectively.

The complete squads are as follows:

The selection trails were held at the SAI Northern Training Centre in Sonepat, under the chairmanship of Shri Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh (Member of Parliament), President, WFI and Chairman of the selection committee on Thursday (21st March 2013). Among other members constituting of the selection committee were Arjuna Awardee Shri Prem Nath, Treasurer, WFI, the national coaches and the foreign experts along with Raj Singh, Secretary General, WFI. The selection trials for the Indian Women’s team will be held in the first week of April, 2013 at NIS Patiala.

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