New Delhi: The inaugural Hari Ram Indian Grand Prix wrestling tournament suffered another setback today with Olympic-bound grappler Yogeshwar Dutt (60kg) pulling out of the event due to a back injury.
Dutt`s withdrawal along with Beijing Games bronze medallist Sushil Kumar`s reluctance to participate has taken the sheen out of the tournament and the event is now struggling to draw crowd in the absence of star home players.
For the organisers, the news could not have been worse after Olympic-bound Geeta (55kg) opted out of the competition while her sister Babita (48kg) was forced to pull out due to an injury.
Another grappler Amit Kumar, who had qualified for the London Games after clinching gold in the 55kg category at an Asian qualification tournament in Kazakhstan, was also forced to pull out after being diagnosed with chicken pox.
Top Indian wrestler Narsingh Yadav (74kg) too missed an opportunity to win gold on the opening day after losing a closely-fought final bout against Hosseinkhani of Iran last night.
"Yogeshwar Dutt did not appear for the customary weigh-in for the competition. He has a waist injury and does not want to risk further aggravating his injury, especially with the Olympics only two months away," said an official on condition of anonymity.
"If you talk about the five Olympic-bound wrestlers, Narsingh finished with a silver medal in 74kg while Amit has chicken pox. Geeta and Yogehwar have opted out of the competition. Uncertainty looms large over Sushil`s participation in the event. So, their no-show has jolted the organisers and we are short of home star grapplers," he added.
The official added that Sushil was not keen on participating in the event as it would hamper his training for the London Games.
"The Indian GP was not there on his mind as it would have clashed with his London Games training, which he cannot afford. He also has a slight niggle in his right knee. He is still recovering from the injury and does not want to rush his return," he said.
Sushil`s bout in the 66kg is scheduled for tomorrow.
The 28-year-old wrestler injured his right knee in the semifinal bout against Ukraine`s Andriy Kvyatkovskyy in the World qualifying event in Taiyuan, China.