World Wrestling Championships: Meet the key Indian contingent
The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has named a solid-looking Indian contingent for the 2022 World Wrestling Championships The tournament will be held in Belgrade, Serbia, from September 10-18. 2022 Commonwealth Games gold medallists Bajrang Punia, Deepak Punia, and Ravi Kumar Dahiya will headline the men's category. Meanwhile, three-time CWG gold medallist Vinesh Phogat will have the attention in the women's freestyle category.
Bajrang, Deepak exempted from the trials
2020 Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Ravi Kumar (57kg) and bronze medallist Bajrang (65kg) were spared the trails for the national selection. Deepak (86kg) was also given an exemption. The 23-year-old, who finished fourth at the Tokyo Olympics, is currently training in the USA along with Bajrang. Meanwhile, Ravi Kumar is in Russia gearing up for the Championships.
A look at other key players in the men's contingent
WFI didn't hold the trials in the men's 57kg and 65kg categories. As a result, wrestlers had to switch to the next weight categories, which were 61kg and 70kg. Pankaj Malik of Services outfoxed Maharashtra's Rahul Aware in the 61kg bout. Haryana's Naveen bested Railways' Vishal Kaliraman in the men's 70kg category., while Sagar Jaglan defeated Yash 3-2 in the 74kg category.
Phogat eyes glory at the Championships
Phogat downed U-20 World Wrestling Champion, Antim Panghal, 7-0 in the selection trial to qualify for the Championships. Notably, she is the only Indian female wrestler set to compete at both Birmingham 2022 and now the World Championships. Sarita Mor, who bagged bronze in the last edition, aced the show in the 57kg category in a bid to prepare for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
A look at the other selections in women's freestyle category
Mansi Ahlawat pulled an upset over former World Championship bronze medallist Pooja Dhanda in the 59kg event. Meanwhile, Asian Championships bronze medallist Sushma Shokeen overcame Pinky in the 55kg category. CWG 2022 bronze medal winners Pooja Gehlot (50kg), Divya Kakran (68kg), and Pooja Sihag (76kg) skipped the trials. Three-time CWG medallist Sakshi Malik had to pull out of the trials owing to a niggle.
Indian men's squad for World Wrestling Championships
Freestyle: Ravi Kumar Dahiya (57kg), Pankaj Malik (61kg), Bajrang Punia (65kg), Naveen Malik (70kg), Sagar Jaglan (74kg), Deepak Mirka (79kg), Deepak Punia (86kg), Vicky (92kg), Vicky Chahar (97kg), Dinesh Dhankar (125kg). Greco Roman: Arjun Halakurki (55kg), Gyanender (60kg), Neeraj (63kg), Ashu (67kg), Vikas (72kg), Sachin (77kg), Harpreet Singh (82kg), Sunil Kumar (87kg), Deepanshu (97kg), Satish (130kg).
Women's squad for the World Championships
Women's squad for the World Championships (freestyle): Ankush (50kg), Vinesh Phogat (53kg), Sushma Shokeen (55kg), Sarita Mor (57kg), Mansi Ahlawat (59kg), Sonam Malik (62kg), Shefali (65kg), Nisha Dahiya (68kg), Reetika (72kg), Priyanka (76kg).
World Wrestling Championships: Key details
The World Wrestling Championships are organized by the United World Wrestling and commenced in 1904 with the Men's Greco-Roman Wrestling tournament. The Men's Freestyle Wrestling tournament began in 1951, followed by the Women's Freestyle Wrestling tournament (1987). The Soviet Union and Japan are the most successful nations in WWC, with 415 and 271 medals, respectively.
How has India fared at the World Wrestling Championships?
India ranks 43rd in the all-time medal tally, with 20 medals, comprising a gold, five silver, and 14 bronze. As for the 2021 edition, India managed a silver and a bronze, with Anshu Malik (57kg) and Sarita (59kg) dazzling in the women's freestyle category.