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Ranking the Indian wrestlers according to their medal chances at Tokyo Olympics 2020

(left to right) Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Ravi Kumar Dahiya (source: Instagram)
(left to right) Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Ravi Kumar Dahiya (source: Instagram)
ANALYST

The Indian wrestling contingent will begin their Tokyo Olympics 2020 campaign on 3rd August 2021. This time, India will be sending a strong wrestling team comprised of medal hopefuls for the quadrennial event in Japan.

Over the last few years, Indian wrestlers have been putting in exceptional performances at various international tournaments. It has given them the confidence to bring home an Olympic medal from the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat are expected to lead India's wrestling medal tally. The remaining five wrestlers will look to add more medals to the Indian tally. The wrestlers will be determined to win more medals at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 as compared to the 2012 London Olympics, where Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt won a silver and a bronze each respectively.

Also Checkout: Tokyo Olympic 2020 Schedule

Let us now check out the Indian wrestlers headed to the Summer Games and their medal chances in Tokyo next month.


Also read: Indian wrestling at Tokyo Olympics 2020: All the participants, events, schedule, streaming details


Indian wrestlers rankings based on their medal chances at the Tokyo Olympics 2020

#1 Bajrang Punia (men's 65 kg)

Bajrang Punia will head to the Tokyo Olympics 2020 as World No.2 in the men's 65 kg category. The 27-year-old was seeded behind Gadzhimurad Rashidov of Russia. Bajrang is one of India's heavy favorites for an Olympic medal at the quadrennial event in Japan.

Bajrang Punia has had exceptional outings in the last few years and won medals at major international events. In every tournament he participates in, Bajrang ensures that he never returns home empty-handed. This year, he won the silver medal at the Asian Wrestling Championships.

The last time India won Olympic medals in men's wrestling was in 2012 when Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt bagged silver and bronze respectively at the 2012 London Olympics. Bajrang Punia will look to end that 9-year medal drought.


Also read: Olympics ki Aasha: Can Bajrang Punia bring home an Olympic medal from the Tokyo Olympics 2020?


#2 Vinesh Phogat (women's 53 kg)

Vinesh Phogat will compete in the women's 53 kg category as the top seed at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. The 26-year-old is one of the top female wrestlers and is a member of the famous Phogat family.

Vinesh is one of the best medal bets for India at the quadrennail event in Japan. In recent years, she has fine tuned her performances and won medals at major international events, including the 2018 Asian Games and Commonwealth Games, where she won gold.

This year, Vinesh Phogat won the gold medal at the Asian Wrestling Championships. Now, her aim is to fulfill the Phogat family's dream of winning an Olympic medal.


Also read: Phogat family waits in hope for 20-year-old Olympic dream to come true


#3 Ravi Kumar Dahiya (men's 57 kg)

Ravi Kumar Dahiya will be heading to Tokyo Olympics 2020 as one of the medal hopefuls for India in wrestling. He booked his Olympic berth after winning the bronze medal at the 2019 World Wrestling Championships.

In 2020, he won the gold medal in the 57 kg category at the Asian Wrestling Championships and went on to defend it this year.

The 23-year-old's performances in the last three years has made him one of India's best medal-hopefuls at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.


Also read: Is Ravi Kumar Dahiya India's biggest medal hope in men's freestyle wrestling at the Tokyo Olympics 2020?: A SWOT analysis


#4 Anshu Malik (women's 57 kg)

Anshu Malik will headline for India in the women's 57 kg category at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. The 19-year-old booked her Olympic berth after reaching the final of her weight category at the Asian Olympic Qualifiers in Almaty, Kazakhstan, in April 2021.

Anshu Malik first broke into the limelight after winning a silver medal at the 2018 World Wrestling Championships. In 2020, she won the silver medal at the Asian Wrestling Championships. Anshu Malik clinched the gold medal at the 2021 continental championships.

Anshu Malik has been in good form of late, making her another medal hopeful in wrestling at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.


Also read: When did India first participate at the Olympics? Tracing India's history in the sporting extravaganza


#5 Deepak Punia (men's 86 kg)

Deepak Punia will feature in the men's 86 kg category at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. The 22-year-old secured his Olympic spot after winning a silver medal at the 2019 World Wrestling Championships.

Deepak Punia shot to fame after he clinched a historic gold medal at the 2019 World Junior Wrestling Championships. The following year, he won the bronze medal at the Asian Wrestling Championships. This year, Deepak changed color to silver at the continental championships.

Considering his performances in the last two years, Deepak Punia could be a surprise medal winner for India at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.


Also read: All you need to know about India's history in wrestling at the Summer Olympics


#6 Sonam Malik (women's 62 kg)

Sonam Malik is the youngest Indian wrestler to qualify for the Summer Games at the Tokyo Olympics. She booked her berth after reaching the final of the women's 62 kg category at the 2021 Asian Olympic Qualifier tournament.

The 19-year-old first shot to fame after winning the gold medal at the 2017 World Cadet Championships. In 2019, Sonam Malik won her second world cadet title. She also won two bronze medals and a silver at the Asian Cadet Wrestling Championships.

Sonam Malik is yet to win an international medal at senior-level. She has the chance to break this duck by winning a medal at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.


Also read: Explained: Repechage rule in wrestling and how it helped India at the Olympics


#7 Seema Bisla (women's 50 kg)

Seema Bisla will feature in the women's 50 kg category at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. She booked her Olympic berth at the World Olympic Qualification Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Seema Bisla's career breakthrough came in 2017 when she won the national title at the National Wrestling Championships. The 28-year-old bagged her first international medal by winning bronze at the 2021 Asian Wrestling Championships.

Seema Bisla, though not a medal hopeful, will be looking to put her best foot forward at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.


Also read: "I just did what I enjoyed most - wrestle" - Sakshi Malik relives her Rio Olympics glory

Edited by Diptanil Roy
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