WFI to decide on Paris Games selection criteria on May 21

India have earned six quota places for the Summer Games with five of them coming from women wrestlers

Published - May 17, 2024 01:52 am IST - New Delhi

The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) will decide on May 21 the selection criteria to pick the Indian team for the Paris Olympics, it has been learnt from reliable sources.

India have earned six quota places for the Summer Games with five of them coming from women wrestlers. Aman Sehrawat is the lone male wrestler to lock quota in the men's freestyle 57kg category.

The WFI had said that it would conduct one final trial to select the wrestlers who will represent the country at the Paris Games, starting July 26.

According to the criteria explained earlier, it was said that the wrestlers, who finished in the top-four at the last trials will compete against each other and the winner from the group will fight it out with the quota winner.

"The WFI has called a selection committee meeting in Delhi on May 21 to decide on the selection criteria. The two chief coaches in both styles (men's freestyle and women) will be part of the discussions," a WFI source told PTI.

It will be interesting to see if the WFI selection committee decides to go ahead with the trials or asks the quota winners to compete at the Games.

If quota winners are cleared for competition, it would mean the end of Paris dream for wrestlers like Ravi Dahiya (men's 57kg) and Sarita Mor (women's 57kg) because they will miss out on one final shot at selection.

At the Tokyo Games, the four quota winners -- Bajrang Punia, Deepak Punia, Ravi Dahiya and Vinesh Phogat -- were allowed to keep places in their respective categories. They were not subjected to trials near the Games.

Led by seasoned Vinesh Phogat (50kg), India have five women wrestlers competing for medals.

Antim Panghal (53kg), Anshu Malik (57kg), Nisha Dahiya (68kg) and Reetika Hooda (76kg) are the other women wrestlers to have secured the quotas.

There is a general feeling that trials are not required so close to the Games.

Trials are not required in all categories

Dronacharya awardee Lalit Kumar, who is the head coach at Chhatarasal Stadium in Delhi, explained why trials are not required.

"Most of our wrestlers have qualified very recently. It's not that they qualified a year back and their fitness and form need to be assessed. Sometimes the wrestler loses form or gets injured, so you need to assess them, if they are India's best bet in their category because athletes can actually hide their injuries.

"So in this case, five of the six wrestlers have earned quotas in less than one month's time. They were the best in their categories, so they won the trials and competed in Bishkek and Istanbul.

"So their fitness and form is before everyone. Yes, for someone like Antim Panghal, who qualified at World Championships last year, WFI needs to know if she is carrying any injury, for others it's not required," he said.

Aman has also expressed concerns about trials, saying it's time to focus on preparation for the Games and not getting ready for another painful process of weight-cut.

Vinesh Phogat, in a post on X, also demanded clarity as to what exactly WFI wants to do with the trials.

A section within the WFI also feels that trials are not required at this stage when the Games are just two months away.

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