We could have done better with stronger support: WFI

New Delhi: Five grapplers have qualified for the Olympics this time around but the Wrestling Federation of India wanted at least one more in the London-bound squad and it believes a stronger support system could have produced better results.

"Ideally we should have doubled the number. Last time three of our wrestlers made it to the Olympics, so we are one short," WFI Secretary General Raj Singh said.

"We were hopeful of at least one more berth in both men`s and women`s category. Mausam Khatri in the 96kg category was a big disappointment, he was so good in World Championship but he couldn`t perform to the expectations in the qualifiers," he added.

Former world champion and Beijing Olympics bronze medalist Sushil Kumar, Yogeshwar Dutt, Narsingh Pancham Yadav and Amit Kumar apart from Geeta Phogat are in the fray this time.

In the previous edition, apart from Sushil and Yogeshwar, Rajiv Tomar represented the country in China.

Singh, however, said with some improvement in the present set-up, the country can improve its chances on the big stage.

"If you see teams like Iran, they carry a big support unit which includes doctors, psychologists, dietitian, they even travel with their own cook. But the things are not the same here.

"I personally believe there should be a physical trainer and a masseur available to the team at all times. We should also increase the number of coaches which accompany the team to the preparatory camps," Singh insisted.

"You see there is a whole lot of activity going on at one particular moment, for instance in Colorado Springs where our boys trained before heading to the Asian Qualifiers, there are around four to five mats and the bouts go on simultaneously, so you need to have people there to keep a tab on all the happenings," he said.

The Secretary General was appreciative of the help from the sports ministry, saying that they have always been very "receptive", the only thing is that "you need to make them understand your point".

He was hopeful that necessary action would be taken in this direction in the near future.

Meanwhile, Singh said they were mulling to send the Olympics-bound wrestlers to Colorado Springs in USA for month-long training before taking them to Belarus for another 15 days before the London event.

"We are preparing a proposal to this effect and will soon send it to the Sports Ministry for approval. We would like our wrestlers to fly to USA just after the conclusion of first Hariram Indian Wrestling Grand Prix. It will be a nice exposure for our athletes ahead of the Olympics in London," he said.


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