WFI expects 4-5 wrestlers to qualify for Olympics

New Delhi: Wrestling Federation of India secretary general Raj Singh expressed hope that four to five grapplers can qualify for the London Olympics in the four qualifying tournaments to be held during February to May.

Raj Singh discussed the calendar for intensive training of wrestlers till Olympics without any gap in the first of a series of Review Meetings for London Games preparation called by Sports Minister Ajay Maken, which started last evening.

The meeting has been called to know the status of the calendar of training and international exposures of core probables in various disciplines in the run-up to London Games and to identify any financial or administrative problems.

The meeting took into account that Rs 5.50 crore has been spent on camps and international exposures for the grapplers.

Five coaching camps have so far been conducted with specific focus on London since April 2011, comprising of training in both Free Style and Greco-Roman, where a total expenditure had come to Rs. 3.57 crore till December 31, 2011.

It was also pointed out that the Indian team participated in six international competitions/training exposures last year, three of which were international competitions and other three training exposures, where the total expenditure incurred was Rs 1.93 crore.

No Indian grappler qualified for the London Games at the 2011 Senior World Free-Style, Greco-Roman and Free-Style (Women) event held at Istanbul from September 12-18. But they still have four more competitions to secure a berth at the Olympics.

Meanwhile, Maken also enquired about the problems faced by WFI in processing of visas of sportspersons and the support staff.

In the last Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008, three wrestlers -- Yogeshwar Dutt (60 kg), Sushil Kumar (66 kg) and Rajiv Tomar (120 kg) -- participated and Sushil bagged the bronze medal for India. Yogeshwar had reached up to the quarterfinals, while Tomar lost in first round itself.