Explained: Why is Wrestling Federation of India planning to change its selection policy for Olympics?

Ravi Dahiya won silver at the Olympics.
Ravi Dahiya won silver at the Olympics.
Rishabh Chauhan

The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is mulling to change its selection policy for the 2024 Paris Olympics. They will discuss the agenda at the upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) scheduled to take place on November 12. While nothing is concrete as of now, the federation feels it will benefit them in the long run.

What is WFI’s current selection policy for the Olympics?

Currently, the Wrestling Federation of India follows a very simple selection policy. The wrestler who secures the Olympic quota represents the country at the quadrennial competition.

At the Tokyo Olympics, Ravi Dahiya (57kg), Bajrang Punia (65kg), Deepak Punia (86kg) and Vinesh Phogat (53kg women’s) had secured the Olympic berth after a medal-winning performance at the 2019 World Championships.

Anshu Malik and Sonam Malik confirmed the 57kg and 62kg berths for India respectively at the Asian Qualifiers. Seema Bisla, on the other hand, confirmed the 50kg place at the World Qualifiers.

Why does WFI want to change team selection method then?

India arguably fielded its best wrestling contingent at the 2020 Olympics. Every wrestler was dubbed amongst the medal contenders. Wrestling Federation of India president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh even predicted at least four medals would come for the sport.

However, things did not go as planned. Barring Ravi Dahiya and Bajrang Punia, who won silver and bronze in their respective weight classes, India failed to finish at the podium in the other events.

Also Read: Agendas of WFI AGM in November

Vinesh Phogat, who was India’s biggest hope for a medal, suffered a shocking exit from the Olympics. Deepak Punia came very close to securing a bronze but conceded two points in the final seconds to miss out on the podium.

Vinesh Phogat is out of the Tokyo Olympics 🙁There is no chance for the repechage as Vanesa Kaladzinskaya loses to Pang Qianyu in the last six seconds of their semifinal! #Tokyo2020 | #Wrestling

The Wrestling Federation of India feels wrestlers get complacent after securing the Olympic quota. Even those who miss out on making it to the team at a particular weight where the quota is confirmed become relaxed.

“It harms the entire Indian wrestling. Once a quota in a particular weight is confirmed, the wrestlers get relaxed because they think there is no more competition at the national level,” a WFI official told Sportskeeda exclusively.

He added:

“Also, if wrestlers get quota a year prior to the Olympics, then there can be a lot of difference in their performance. We need to pick the best to increase our chances for the Olympic medal.”

Wrestling has been the most consistent Indian sport at the Games. The sport has delivered a podium finish at every Olympics since the 2008 Beijing Games, where Sushil Kumar won bronze.

Congratulations to Ravi Kumar Dahiya for scripting history by bagging a Silver in 57 kg category of Men's freestyle Wrestling at #Olympics in #Tokyo#JaiHind #CheerForIndia

When will the Olympic qualifications for wrestling for the 2024 Paris Games begin?

The wrestling Olympic qualifications for the 2024 Paris Games will begin in 2023. The world championships in Russia will be the first qualifiers for the Olympics. Six quota places in each wrestling style will be up for grabs.

Also Read: Senior Wrestling National Championships dates changed

The next one will be the continental qualifiers, followed by the world qualifiers. They will have two Olympic quotas each.

Edited by Anantaajith Ra


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