Medal hopes high as Indian wrestlers begin campaign on Tuesday
Their remarkable performances in the build-up to the Tokyo Games creating high hopes of multiple medals at the Olympics, Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat will have the spotlight on them when India's seven wrestlers, beginning with Sonam Malik, open their campaigns in Tokyo from Tuesday. Wrestling is one sport that promised at least three podium finishes irrespective of the color of the medal.
Ravi Dahiya is expected to deliver in next few days
Apart from Bajrang (FS 65kg) and Vinesh (WW 53kg), Ravi Dahiya (FS 57kg) is expected to deliver at the biggest stage in next few days. The 19-year-old Sonam will be first to take mat in the 62kg category, pitted against Mongolia's Asian Championship silver medalist Bolortuya Khurelkhuu. Both Sonam and Anshu Malik carry with themselves an unpredictability factor, being new to the senior circuit.
Anshu has a complete game and is getting better
Both Sonam and Anshu have spunk, grit, and gumption. Anshu has a complete game and is getting better by the day. There is no pressure on them to deliver and if even they return without medals, they will be richer in experience.
Vinesh is unmatched when it comes to counter-attack skills
But when it comes to their senior Vinesh, she is going to the games as top seed and save Japan's Mayu Mukaida, she is capable of beating all contenders even as the competition will be very tight in her category. Vinesh has got better on defense and unmatched when it comes to counter-attack skills and it showed in her Asian title-winning show this season.
The men's challenge will be led by Bajrang
However, the Asian Championship and other events were without Japan and China. The men's challenge will be led by Bajrang, who is a much-respected wrestler at the global level. In his last 10 international tournaments, he won six gold medals, three silver, and one bronze.
Bajrang's leg defense will be tested in a competitive category
Bajrang's superior stamina sets him apart but his leg defense will be tested in a very competitive category where at least five to six wrestlers are capable of winning gold. Talk about Ravi and he too is a genuine medal contender but has not attracted much attention. He possesses immense strength, stamina and is technically sound.
Deepak Punia is going under-prepared in terms of competition time
However, Ravi can't afford to leave too much work for the second period as it happened at the Poland Open where he conceded a 0-8 lead in the final. Zavur Uguev (RUS) and Suleyman Atli (Turkey) will be threats in his category. Finally, one wrestler who is going a bit under-prepared in terms of competition time is Deepak Punia (FS 86kg).
Deepak has not competed since the 2020 World Cup
Deepak hasn't competed since the 2020 World Cup. He has been nursing a left elbow injury and withdrew from the Poland Open, which was the last event in the run-up to Olympics. He got results on the senior circuit but Olympics are a different beast.Share this timeline