December 9, 2022


The Indian wrestling season for the yr is almost carried out, following the conclusion of the Nationwide Championships. Simply the Commonwealth Wrestling Championships scheduled for the third of December stay – a event the place the Indian crew will comprise of the wrestlers who received gold and silver on the Nationwide Championships final week.

Whereas the nationals have been skipped by the overwhelming majority of frontline wrestlers – only one Olympian from Tokyo took half – the competitors marked out numerous prospects to pay attention to. Together with a few youthful wrestlers -Tokyo Olympians, Anshu and Sonam Malik– who missed out on the Nationals owing to damage, these may very well be the faces of the Indian girls’s wrestling crew over the following Olympic cycle.

Pooja Gehlot, 24

Ladies’s 53kg division

Whereas Vinesh Phogat stays prime of the hill within the girls’s 53kg class, there aren’t any scarcity of claimants to her place within the Indian roster. Staking her declare to be first in that checklist of challengers is 24-year-old Pooja Gehlot.

Winner of the silver medal on the U-23 World Championships in 2019, Gehlot sustained an damage within the ultimate of that event. The harm to her elbow saved her out for the following couple of years, solely making her return on the 2021 Nationals.

Within the absence of Phogat, Gehlot received gold within the 53kg division. Her tenacity and distinctive talent set in floor wrestling have been on show on the Nationals. Trailing 5-10 within the final minute of her ultimate, Gehlot trapped one other rising expertise, Maharashtra’s Swati Shinde, in a intestine wrench to attain 10 unanswered factors. “She’s very fast to seek out openings and has wonderful floor wrestling. If she will keep free from damage, she can be a really robust opponent internationally,” says Kuldeep Malik, chief coach of the Indian girls’s crew.

Shivani Pawar, 22

Ladies’s 50kg division

Not many would have taken a lot discover of Shivani Pawar till the final couple of months.

She began her profession in Madhya Pradesh – no nice energy in wrestling – and hadn’t received a nationwide title till the latest version. Stricken by accidents to her shoulders and knees during the last couple of years, this yr has been the primary in many who she might practice constantly. She’s made that depend as nicely.

On the U-23 World Championships final month, Pawar, competing with a extreme fever, received a shock silver medal for India. That medal locations her in an elite checklist of simply 7 Indians – together with Olympic medalists, Bajrang Punia and Ravi Dahiya. Simply to show that consequence was no fluke, Pawar got here via a troublesome discipline to win gold on the nationwide championships per week later, beating 2020 Tokyo Olympian Seema Bisla within the semifinals.

Sangeeta Phogat, 22

Ladies’s 62kg division

Sangeeta Phogat has lengthy been within the shadow of her much more completed sisters and cousins. She might have her breakout season very quickly although.

She returned to excessive stage competitors this yr after a 3 yr break as a result of damage after successful the choice trials for the 2021 World Championships. Though she did not progress far in Oslo, she has proven potential to be India’s mainstay within the 62kg weight division as she received her first gold on the nationwide championships.

With Olympic medalist Sakshi Malik fully off form, Phogat’s most important problem at this weight division can be Tokyo Olympian Sonam Malik. The latter is presently recovering from an damage she suffered on the Tokyo Video games and competitors for a spot within the Indian crew can be between her and Phogat.

Nisha Dahiya, 23

Ladies’s 65kg division

Nisha Dahiya was the unintentional focus of hypothesis final week following the loss of life of a namesake wrestler. Nevertheless, the 23-year-old will doubtless make the information for the precise causes within the subsequent few years.

After receiving a two yr ban as a junior for a doping offence she says was carried out unintentionally, Dahiya has slowly been making a robust case for herself within the seniors. Her gold medal on the Nationals was her third straight within the 65kg division, following her return to competitors in 2019. Per week earlier than she received her most up-to-date title, she would additionally win her greatest worldwide medal – a bronze on the U-23 Worlds.

For all her success, Dahiya will finally need to make a name whether or not to maneuver all the way down to the 62kg or as much as the 68kg weight division. Though she’s in a position to make weight for the 62kg division, she’s chosen to remain within the non-Olympic weight class, since not doing so would imply being in direct competitors together with her mentor Sakshi Malik. Ought to she transfer down although, her energy is anticipated to make her a significant risk.



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