An injury has forced wrestler Sushil Kumar to pull out of the Asian Championship. This news has come as a big disappointment for Sushil’s opponents, who were eagerly waiting to take on him as the Indian has defeated some big names like AkzhurekTantarov and Navrojov of Uzbekistan. Tantarov was amongst those who lost to Sushil in the 2012 London Olympics–since then he has been to India with revenge on his mind but he didn’t get to wrestle against Sushil. Just like him Bekzod Abdurakhmonov, the defending champion, didn’t get his wish to wrestle with Sushil in the PWL also.
Even Kyrgyzstan’s AisuluuTynybekova was thirsting for revenge. After losing the bronze medal bout against Sakshi Malik at Rio, she was eagerly waiting to defeat the Indian. But just like in the previous year’s Asian Championship, Sakshi changed her weight from 58 just before the competition, which meant that she would will compete in the 62kg category whereas Aisuluu will be participating in the 59 kg confronting Sangeeta Phogat.
Sushil’s injury could see Praveen Rana getting a chance. Interestingly, Jitendra who was considered strong bet in the 74kg has shifted his weight to 79 kg. On his part, Bajrang will have the pressure to retain his gold. Sumit, the silver medalist at the last Asian Championship has to be mentally prepared to confront the challenge of a strong Iranian wrestler.
Rahul Aware in 57 kg, Somveer in 86 Kg and Mausam Khatri in 97 kg category has shown some good performance by defeating all their opponents during the trial but at the international level, there is a very tough competition in their weight categories.
Ravinder, a sensation in the 61 kg category was considered to be a strong contender but an injury forced him to withdraw. Amongst the women, Sakshi, Vinesh and Divya Kakran are some of the Indian wrestlers who have lost to Japanese wrestlers though this time they will try to reduce the difference in the points.
All eyes will be on Pooja Dhanda and Babita Kumari. For Babita, it will be an important tournament as she will be attempting to make comeback at the international wrestling. A good performance in the Asian Championship will provide the right launching pad for the Indian women wrestlers for the upcoming CWG and Asian games.
One of the best performers remainPooja Dhanda. Ever since she defeated the Olympic and world champion Helen Morilis twice and thereafter the silver medalist of World Championship, Odonayo and MarwaAmary once in Pwl, she has been a centre of attraction. A lot of experts consider her as a strong contender for the gold in Asian championship.
In the Greco Roman style, if the Indian wrestlers are able to continue their winning streak from the previous year’s edition of two medals, it will be considered as a big achievement.