Bajrang Punia was the only Indian to bag gold in the last edition of the Asian Wrestling Championships, hosted by China. The Wrestling Federation of India is this time hopeful that India will win as many as five gold medals in the tournament in New Delhi.
“We have high expectations from Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Anshu Malik, Ravi Dahiya and Deepak Punia to win gold medals in the Senior Asian Wrestling Championships,” WFI Chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh said at a Press conference in Constitution Club of India, New Delhi on Wednesday.
“We also expect India to win four medals in in Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games wrestling competition,” added Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
Bajrang and Ravi Dahiya have been impressive with their performances at the UWW World Championships 2019, where both have won bronze medals. The duo has returned with and gold in the Rome Ranking series this year. Deepak Punia though was eliminated in the first round at Rome even after securing a silver in the World Championships last year.
Vinesh Phogat has already secured a berth in the Tokyo Olympic Games with her World Championships bronze medal. All eyes in New Delhi will be on Anshu Malik, who had secured silver in the Rome Ranking Series 2020.
The WFI chief also said that India would readily host the Asian Olympic Qualifiers if they are asked to conduct the event which is being moved out of China in wake of the Coronavirus spread. “ Due to Coronavirus, the Asian Olympic Qualifiers which were earlier scheduled to take place in China from March 27-29, will be moved out to some other country. Given a chance, we will host the Asian Olympic Qualifiers in India,” he said.
Addressing the media on the ongoing issues of visas to Pakistani and Chinese wrestlers, who are to take part in the Asian Championships, the WFI also said that both countries won’t be facing any problem.
The development comes at a time when India has suspended e-visa facility for Chinese travellers in the wake of the deadly Coronavirus outbreak, which has killed more than 490 people and infected more than 24,000.
The Indian High Commission in Islamabad has not cleared the visa applications of the Pakistani contingent yet.
The WFI chief claimed that a 40-member contingent from China had been quarantined by their national federation. “All 40 Chinese wrestlers have been checked and none of them have tested positive for the virus. They have been quarantined,” WFI chief said, and added that he had apprised External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar about issue and also UWW’s letter.
“The UWW had written to us that no problems in visa should be there for any country. Today, I met the Foreign Minister and briefed him on the issue. I have attached a copy of that letter also. No problem should be there for both Pakistan and China in getting visas.”
UWW has reportedly warned the WFI that if visas were not provided to all the participating for the Asian Championship in New Delhi, India may be barred from the Asian Olympic qualifier.
As per UWW bidding rules, it’s mandatory for hosts to ensure all participating nations get visas for a tournament.