Wrestlers Feel Relief as Trials Begin

Tushar emerged victorious out of a pool of 65 wrestlers, after fighting seven non-stop bouts at the Boys Under-17 Selection Trial for the U17&U23 Asian Championships; an event that saw 211 freestyle wrestlers competing in five different weight categories. Tushar’s determination and hard work paid off, and his victory gets him a place in the Indian wrestling roster for the upcoming championships in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Similarly, Narender had a tough day in the 71kg category, where he had to compete against 51 contestants. Nevertheless, their hard work and efforts over the day led them to victory and a place in the team, a dream they had nearly given up on. A total of 211 freestyle wrestlers attended the trials in five weight categories on the first day in Sonipat.

The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) faced an unprecedented crisis due to the suspension of its president, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, following allegations of sexual harassment. Consequently, the age-group Nationals, and Ranking Series tournaments were delayed, and the sporting calendar was in shambles. This situation led the two-member ad hoc committee made up of IOA executive council member Bhupinder Singh Bajwa and national coach Suma Shirur, who currently oversee WFI’s administration, to organize open trials to choose the national team. The selection trial had 883 entries in four days, across 20 weight classes for freestyle wrestlers alone. The corresponding figures are 394 in women’s wrestling and 427 in Greco Roman.

“The selection trials are the resumption of the domestic calendar because we thought our wrestlers were not going to be able to compete in Bishkek. We have been waiting for the trials for the past two months but because of the crisis that the sport is facing in the country, everything was stalled,” said Tushar’s coach Sudhir, pleased with the development.

The trials marked the resumption of wrestling events in India. The junior wrestlers had been training at respective centres for the past five months without opportunities to improve their skills through interaction with a wide range of opponents, a factor that motivates their progress significantly. The wrestling community is relieved and eagerly anticipating a quick turnaround to a normal calendar schedule to further hone their skills and secure their future competitively. “The ad hoc panel has asked coaches and wrestlers to state their preference on World Championships (Sept 16-24, Serbia) and the Asian Games (Sept 23-Oct 8, Huangzhou) due to the scheduling of these events,” said a coach aware of the developments.


Freestyle U17: 48 Kg Rupesh, 60 Kg Tushar, 71 Kg Narender

U23: 97 Kg Sahil, 125 Kg Akash Antil

GR U17: 48 Kg Siddhanath, 60 kg Varun, 71 Kg Soham Raj

U23: 82 Kg Rohit Dahiya, 130 Kg Parvesh

WW U17: 43 Kg Parveen, 53 Kg Rajnita, 61 Kg Savita

WW U23: 59 Kg Anjali, 76 Kg Harshita

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