New Delhi April 19: Seventeen  Indian wrestlers led by Vinesh Phogat and Aman Sehrawat will be on the hunt for quotas at the Asian Wrestling Olympic Qualifiers for Paris which starts in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan from Friday.

The continental qualifier, which concludes on April 21, will be the penultimate opportunity for Indian wrestlers to secure a quota for the upcoming Summer Games. 

The World Qualification Tournament in Turkey, scheduled in May, will be the final wrestling qualifier for Paris.

There will be a total of 36 Paris quotas on offer in 18 weight divisions across Greco-Roman, men’s freestyle, and women’s freestyle categories in Bishkek.

The tournament will follow a bracket system and two semi-finalists from each weight division obtain quotas for their respective country. There will be no gold medal bouts or repechage.

India will be fielding wrestlers in 17 of the 18 categories with the only exception being the women’s 53kg. 

Antim Panghal has already secured a Paris quota in the division by virtue of winning a bronze medal at the  World Wrestling Championships in Belgrade last year.

Two-time world championships bronze medal winner Vinesh Phogat usually competes in the women’s 53kg but has dropped down to the 50kg category since Antim has already secured a quota in the division.

The 50kg, however, isn’t new to Vinesh, who won the gold medal at the 2018 Asian and Commonwealth Games in the same category.

Meanwhile, Aman Sehrawat, a former Asian and U23 world champion, will represent India in the men’s 57kg.

 The 20-year-old earned his place in the Indian contingent for the continental qualifiers after beating Tokyo silver medallist Ravi Dahiya in the national trials. Sehrawat also won a gold at the Zagreb Open earlier this year.

Olympian Deepak Punia will be in action in the 86kg division while Sujeet will challenge the 65kg after Tokyo bronze medallist Bajrang Punia failed to make the cut.

India will also have a strong contender in the women’s 57kg with Anshu Malik, a former Asian champion and world championships silver medal winner, set to compete. U-23 world champion Reetika Hooda will be another Indian wrestler to watch out for in the women’s 76kg.

Indian wrestlers at Asian Wrestling Olympic Qualifiers :

Men’s Greco-Roman: Sumit (60kg), Ashu (67kg), Vikas (77kg), Sunil (87kg), Nitesh (97kg), Naveen (130kg)

Women’s freestyle: Vinesh Phogat (50kg), Anshu Malik (57kg), Mansi (62kg), Nisha (68kg), Reetika Hooda (76kg)

Men’s freestyle: Aman Sehrawat (57kg), Sujeet (65kg), Jaideep (74kg), Deepak Punia (86kg), Deepak (97kg), Sumit (125kg)


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