Indian wrestlers out to prove their worth in Asian C`ship
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Last Updated: Tuesday, May 11, 2010, 21:12
  
New Delhi: With home support and Beijing Olympics bronze medallist Sushil Kumar in their ranks, India will eye a rich medal haul of medals in the Asian Wrestling Championship that begins at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex here on Wednesday.

Besides Sushil, the five-day event will see defending champion Iranian Lashgari Ehsan (84kg) and Beijing Olympics medallists Yusup Abdusalomov (84kg) of Tajikistan and Kazakhstan's Mutalimov Madrid in action.

India is fielding a maximum of 21 wrestlers in the three categories.

Apart from Sushil (freestyle 66kg), last year's bronze medallist woman wrestler Alka Tomar (59kg), experienced Rajiv Tomar (freestyle 120kg) and young Narsingh Pancham Yadav (freestyle 74kg) are vying for top honours.

Around 350 wrestlers from 21 countries will participate in the test event for the Commonwealth Games.

Apart from hosts India, all major wrestling nations of the continent -- Iran, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, China and Mongolia -- will participate in the annual championship, which is considered to be one of the major fixtures in the International Wrestling Federation (FILA) calendar.

In the last edition in Pattaya, Thailand, India won six medals -? two silver and four bronze -- but this time around the hosts would be expecting to better their performance. Iran though would be the overwhelming favourites in the tournament.

India, however, would be without Ramesh Kumar (74kg) and Anuj Kumar (84kg) -- only medal winners in freestyle in Pattaya.

For India, the event would offer a chance to test its strength and weaknesses ahead of the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.

The championship would provide India a chance to test the facilities at the newly-constructed wrestling stadium ahead of the Commonwealth Games. India is also mulling to bid next year's Olympic Qualifiers (freestyle) and Junior World Championships.

"All Asian nations are sending their top wrestlers. The focus is on the Commonwealth Games, but Asian Games is also important. Competition is more intense in the Asian Games," Indian Wrestling Federation president G S Mandher said.

The freestyle competitions will be held tomorrow and Thursday, followed by women's wrestling on Friday and Greco Roman on Saturday and Sunday.

Rahul Mann (60kg), Narsingh Pancham Yadav (74kg) and Mausam Khatri will be in action in the freestyle category tomorrow. India's best bet for a medal, Sushil will be in action on Thursday.

PTI


First Published: Tuesday, May 11, 2010, 21:12


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