World Wrestling Olympic Qualifiers: It will be the last chance for India to secure record- Tokyo Olympic berth when 12 wrestlers across three divisions begin their campaign at the World Olympic Qualifiers in Sophia, Bulgaria. The highest qualification India has had is eight in Rio Games 2018. The final qualification event for the Olympic Games kicks off on Thursday (May 6) and is set to host 474 athletes from 84 different nations. Coming into Sofia, 14/16 Olympic quotas have been claimed. India have qualified in six weights so far.
World Wrestling Olympic Qualifiers
India have qualified in three weights division — Ravi Dahiya (57kg), Bajrang Punia (65kg) and Deepak Punia (86kg). The Wrestling Federation of India has fielded Amit Dhankar, Satyawart Kadian and Sumit Malik in 74kg, 97kg and 125kg respectively.
Eyes will be on Dhankar as he will have a task cut out. He will up against Tajmuraz Salkazanov who is on a hot streak. Last weekend, he became the third Slovakian wrestler to win a European gold medal, and he did so by scoring improbable come-from-behind wins against a two-time world champion, a world silver medallist and a U23 world champion. The loaded 36-man bracket in Sofia features a slew of world and Olympic medallists, including Olympic bronze medallist Soner Demirtas (TUR) and world champion Hetik Cabolov (SRB).
– Women’s Wrestling:
Just like in freestyle, India has confirmed three Olympic quotas in women wrestling. While Vinesh Phogat won the license in 53kg at 2019 World Championships, Anshu and Sonam bagged the rights in 57kg and 62kg at the recently concluded Asian Olympic Qualifiers. In the remaining three weight categories, Seema Bisla (50kg), Nisha Dahiya (68kg) and Pooja (76kg) will hope to get more Olympic berths for India.
India has not bagged a single quota in classical-style wrestling. With all the six places up for grabs, the Indian Greco wrestlers will have to give their all to finish in the top two. All eyes will be on Sunil Kumar (87kg) and Gurpreet (77kkg), as the duo stands the best chance to make it to Tokyo.
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