World Wrestling Championship: Yogeshwar Dutt to spearhead India, all eyes on Narsingh Yadav
With an aim to bag as many Olympic quota places as possible, star grappler Yogeshwar Dutt will spearhead the Indian attack even as all eyes will be on Narsingh Yadav's performance in the absence of a more fancied Sushil Kumar at the World Wrestling Championship here.
Las Vegas: With an aim to bag as many Olympic quota places as possible, star grappler Yogeshwar Dutt will spearhead the Indian attack even as all eyes will be on Narsingh Yadav's performance in the absence of a more fancied Sushil Kumar at the World Wrestling Championship here.
This World Championship has assumed significance as it also doubles up as the first qualification tournament for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Injury to the two-time Olympic medallist Sushil has handed Narsingh a chance to fight here for an Olympic berth and undoubtedly the 26-year-old wrestler will generate maximum curiosity among the Indian fans when he takes the mat in Men's 74kg Freestyle category on the last day of the competition, on September 12.
In Sushil's almost year-long absence, Narsingh has not just represented India in 74kg category but has also won a few medals at various competitions.
The top six positions in each category here will ensure an Olympic berth for a country and Narsingh has a good chance of grabbing a berth for India if not a podium finish.
Though India's best medal bet will still be London Olympic bronze medallist Yogeshwar, who will compete in the 65kg Freestyle division.
Yogeshwar has so far managed to win nothing less than gold at whichever tournament he has participated since climbing up the weight division from 60kg to 65kg after the international governing body FILA re-jigged the weight classes at the end of 2013.
Besides Yogeshwar and Narsingh, the men's freestyle category will also have the likes of Amit Kumar (57kg) and Mausam Khatri (97kg), who according to chief national freestyle coach Kuldeep Malik have a good chance of reserving Olympic berths as well as bagging medals.
In the women's Freestyle category veteran Geeta Phogat, 2012 World Championship bronze medallist Babita and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Vinesh are expected to bag both medals and quota places.
The Greco-Roman contest will take place on the first two days of the competition and India will be fielding an eight-member team.
Although traditionally Greco-Roman has not been India's strong point chief coach Mahavir is hopeful of his boys coming up with some good display.
"I am really hopeful of a good performance. We have practised hard and are confident of giving our best in the championship," Mahavir told PTI.
Even though India faced a few obstacles including a visa delay on their way to the USA, after arriving here, they had a solid 12-day training camp and the country's wrestlers are confident of putting their best foot forward.
"It would have been better if we had acquired the visas earlier as we would have got more time. But whatever time we have got now, we have trained well and are confident of doing well," Malik said.
"Yogeshwar, Narsingh, Amit and Mausam have a good chance of booking an Olympic quota place for India and a 2-3 of them can also finish on the podium," he added.
Men Freestyle: Amit Kumar (57kg), Bajrang Singh (61kg), Yogeshwar Dutt (65kg), Arun (70kg), Narsingh Yadav (74kg), Naresh Kumar (86kg), Mausam Khatri (97kg), Sumit (125kg).
Female Wrestling: Vinesh (48kg), Babita (53kg), Lalita (55kg), Geeta Phogat (58kg), Sarita (60kg), Anita (63kg), Navjot (69kg), Nikki (75kg).
Greco-Roman Wrestling: Ravinder Singh (59kg), Deepak (66kg), M Rafique (71kg), Gurpreet Singh (75kg), Harpreet Singh (80kg), Manoj Kumar (85kg), Hardeep (98kg), Naveen (130kg).