Young Indian wrestler Sandeep Singh upset Narsingh Yadav in 74kg at the National Trials on Tuesday to secure his place in next month's Asian Olympic qualifiers. The national champion Sandeep started his campaign with a win over Pritam before knocking out the former World Championship bronze medallist Yadav in the second round.
The 21-year-old Sandeep Singh got the better of Asian medallist Amit Dhankar 2-1 in the final round at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Sports Complex to book his Kazakhstan ticket. It was expected that Dhankar would be a tough nut to crack, but Sandeep Singh was ready for the challenge.
“It was tough three rounds in the selection trials, but I managed to stay focused to win a place in the national team for the continental competition,” Sandeep Singh told IANS.
Satyawart Kadian joins Sandeep Singh in Kazakhstan-bound team
2014 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Satyawart Kadian (97kg) also qualified for the April 9-11 event, with Sumit Malik (125kg) rounding off the freestyle team.
Six wrestlers qualified in the Greco-Roman section for the Asian qualifiers as well. They are Gyanender (60kg), Ashu (67), Gurpreet Singh (77kg), Sumit Kumar (87kg), Ravi (97kg), and Naveen Kumar (130kg).
So far, four Indian wrestlers have qualified for Tokyo Olympics – Deepak Punia (86kg), Bajrang Punia (65kg), Ravi Kumar Dahiya (86kg), and Vinesh Phogat (53kg).
Meanwhile, star Indian grappler Sushil Kumar opted out of the trials, citing a lack of preparation for the event. The two-time Olympic medallist was re-elected as the School Games Federation of India president last week, following a controversy that saw his signatures being forged. Even though the matter has now been resolved, Sushil said that he is currently not in the right frame of mind and wanted time to prepare.
If the Asian qualifiers event fails to deliver any results, the Indian wrestlers will then try their chances at the world qualifiers, which will take place in Bulgaria in May.