Olympic Hopefuls Bajrang and Vinesh Lead Indian Challenge at Matteo Pellicone
Bajrang Punia, multiple world championships medallist at Asian Games champion, is one of the medal favourites for India at the Tokyo Olympics to be staged later this year.
Star Indian wrestlers Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat are looking forward to the Matteo Pellicone ranking series tournament in Rome to register winning starts to their season set to peak at the Tokyo Olympics. The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) announced a 34-member squad on Wednesday for the March 4-7 tournament with Punia and Phogat spearheading the challenge.
The Indian freestyle team also includes the 2019 World Championships bronze medal winner Deepak Punia. Ravi Kumar and Narsingh Yadav, who returned to the mat after a four-year doping ban in December last year, will also be in the fray.
In the Greco-Roman category, Arjun Halakurki (55kg) and Gurpreet Singh (77kg) will lead the Indian challenge.
Besides Vinesh, who is the only woman wrestler to have qualified for next year's Tokyo Games, Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik and Anshu Malik will also be in action.
Malik, who was not part of the original list of the WFI, was granted permission to compete after the wrestler requested for it. She will, however, bear her own cost while travelling to Italy. It is clear that Malik, whose form has declined since Rio 2016, wants to make a last bid to make the Tokyo Cut.
Free Style: Ravi Kumar (57 Kg), Pankaj (57 Kg), Bajrang (65 Kg), Rohit (65 Kg), Vishal Kaliraman (70 Kg), Sandeep Singh Mann (74 Kg), Narsingh Yadav (74 Kg), Jitender (74 Kg), Rahul Rathi (79 Kg), Deepak Punia (86 Kg), (Parveen Chahar) 86 Kg, Praveen (92 Kg), Satywart Kadian (97 Kg), Sumit (125 Kg)
Greco-Roman: Arjun Halakurki (55 Kg), Manish 60 (Kg), Neeraj (63 Kg), Gaurav Duhoon (67 Kg), Kuldeep Malik (72 Kg) , Gurpreet Singh (77 Kg), Harpreet Singh (82 Kg), Sunil Kumar (87 Kg), Deepanshu (97 Kg), Naveen (130 Kg)
Women’s FS: Meenakshi (50 Kg), Vinesh (53 Kg), Nandini Bajirao Salokhe (53 Kg), Anshu (57 Kg), Sarita (59 Kg), Sonam (62 Kg), Sakshi Malik (62 Kg), Nisha (65 Kg), Anita (68 Kg), Kiran (76 Kg).
(With inputs from PTI)
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