The new-look Indian women's freestyle wrestling squad will compete at next month’s Asian Wrestling Championships in Mongolia. The national selection trials for the event were held on Friday, at Lucknow’s Sports Authority of India (SAI) Stadium.
Apart from Tokyo Olympian Anshu Malik and Sarita Mor, eight other wrestlers will compete at the senior Asian level for the first time.
Two-time Olympian and 2018 Jakarta Asian Games champion Vinesh Phogat pulled out of the national selection trials due to fitness issues. Promising wrestler Sonam Malik's back injury forced her also to withdraw from the trials.
Vinesh was supposed to compete in 55kg while Sonam was expected to feature in the 62kg category. A coach familiar with the development said:
“Sonam took leave from the camp and went home."
Tokyo Olympian Seema Bisla is also on the injured list. In Seema’s absence Manisha won in the 50kg category at the national trials.
Maharashtra’s talented wrestler Swati Shinde defeated Pooja Gehlot from Haryana to qualify in the 53kg group. As expected, Anshu was a comfortable winner in the 57kg category while Sarita dominated the 59kg category.
But it was a disappointing day for Pooja Dhanda. The 2018 World Championships Bronze medalist, as she got injured during her second round clash in the 57kg category against Anshu, the eventual winner of the category.
The national coach explained the Dhanda's condition.
“Pooja hurt her knee during the selection trials. The medical experts will examine Pooja’s injury and advice necessary treatment."
Manisha (62kg), Radhika (65kg), Sonika Hooda (68kg), Nikki (72kg), and Sudesh (76kg) are others selected for the Asian Wrestling Championships, scheduled to be held in Ulaanbaatar from April 19.
The men’s national selection trials in Freestyle and Greco Roman were held on Thursday, in Delhi. Big names like Bajrang Punia and Ravi Dahiya will be in action from among the men's contingent.
Indian squad for Asian Wrestling Championships
Women: Manisha (50kg), Swati Shinde (53kg), Sushma Shokeen (55kg), Anshu Malik (57kg), Sarita (59kg), Manisha (62kg), Radhika (65kg), Sonika Hooda (68kg), Nikki (72kg), Sudesh (76kg).
Men (Freestyle): Ravi Dahiya (57kg), Mangal Kadyan (61kg), Bajrang Punia (65kg), Naveen (70kg), Yash (74kg), Gaurav Baliyan (79kg), Deepak Punia (86kg), Viky 992kg), Satywart Kadian (97kg), Anirudh Kumar (125kg).
Men (Greco Roman): Arjuna Halakurki (55kg), Gyanender (60kg), Neeraj (63kg), Sachin Sehrawat (67kg), Vikas (72kg), Sajan (77kg), Harpreet Singh (82kg), Sunil Kumar (87kg), Ravi (97kg), Prem (130kg).