India’s men’s freestyle wrestlers return empty-handed from the World Championships

India’s men’s freestyle wrestlers cut a dismal figure at the World Championships as none of them could earn quota for next year’s Paris Olympics or win a medal. What was more disappointing was that the Indian wrestlers lost to rivals from the nations not known for their wrestling prowess, raising doubts about their fitness before flying to Belgrade. Sachin Mor (79kg) lost his replay due to technical superiority to North Macedonia’s Ahmad Magomedov, while Anuj Kumar (65kg) could not even make it through the qualifying round, losing 7-8 to Mexico’s Austin Klee Gomez.

Mexico and North Macedonia are not the nations against whom the Indians are expected to lose their matches.

It has been learned that the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) had suggested the sports ministry to conduct a medical examination of the selected wrestlers before sending them to participate, saying that many of them might be carrying injuries.

“A few of the selected wrestlers are injured, especially the 65 kg freestyle wrestler. I suggest that a medical examination should be done before they leave India so that the necessary replacement can be done in time,” WFI general secretary VN Prasood had written to the sports secretary in September 11 in his letter, a copy of which is in PTI’s possession.

India’s biggest hope, Aman Sehrawat (57kg) had lost to reigning world champion Albania’s Zelimkhan Abakarov in the quarter-finals, but when the Russian-born wrestler failed to reach the final, the door of recognition was closed for the Indian.

In the 70 kg bronze play-off, Abhimanyu lost by technical superiority to Armenia’s Arman Andreasyan.

Akash Dahiya (61 kg), Naveen (74 kg), Sachin Mor (79 kg), Sandeep Singh Mann (86 kg), Pruthviraj (92 kg), Sahil (97 kg) and Sumit (125 kg) all fell at various stages of the tournament.

The next opportunity to earn an Olympic quota will come at the Asian and World Qualifiers next year.

All the Indian wrestlers compete as neutral athletes because the world governing body UWW did not allow them to compete under the flag of India.

This was because the UWW had suspended the WFI after the IOA-appointed ad hoc committee, headed by Bhupender Singh Bajwa, failed to conduct the elections on time.

Even if any of the Indian wrestlers – women or Greco Roman – earn the quotas, they will belong to the IOA and the wrestler who wins a berth in next year’s Olympics.

(With the exception of the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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