No Indian athlete has matched Sushil Kumar’s achievements at the grandest of all platforms –the Olympic Games. The legend of Indian wrestling is looking for one final sojourn at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics – but his unavailability for the trials conducted by the Wrestling Federation of India has almost shattered his Tokyo dreams.
With Jitender proving his mettle by winning the trials in the 74kg, a ray of hope still prevails for Sushil.
No, said the Wrestling Federation of India President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) had earlier announced that winner of the Friday’s trials will compete at the Ranking series event in Italy (January 15-18), Asian Championships in New Delhi (February 18-23) and the Asian Olympic qualifiers in Xian (March 27-29) but PTI has reported that WFI President said they can hold fresh trials ahead of the Xian event.
It means that if Jitender has to earn a shot at the Tokyo Olympic qualification, he will have to impress the WFI with medal-winning performances in Rome and New Delhi.
“If we find that performances of our wrestlers is not satisfying at the first two events, we can have fresh trials to select wrestlers for the Asian Olympic qualifier. We want to send our best wrestler, so that India can have maximum number of quotas for Olympics,” Sharan told PTI.
This statement by the WFI President gives Sushil a remote chance to make it to the team once again. But for that to happen Jitender has to perform really badly at the first two events.
“If we are happy with performance of our wrestlers in Olympic categories, where we have not got the quota, we will not have trials. As for Sushil, no one will be allowed to go for Olympic qualifiers, without having to compete in trials,” he added.
Citing an injury, Sushil could not compete in the Friday trials but had beaten Jitender in a bitterly-fought trials bout for the World Championships in September 2019.
The Tokyo dreams of Sushil is now no more in the hands of the legend himself. His dreams can only come alive if first Jitender performs badly in Rome and at the Asian Championships and secondly if WFI deems fit to conduct the trials once again before the Asian Olympic Qualifiers.
Qualifiers in each category after Friday trials
57kg – Ravi Dhaiya (Railways) beat Pankaj (Services) 10-0
65kg – Bajrang Punia qualified directly
74kg – Jitender (Services) beat Amit Dhankar (Haryana) 5-2
86kg – Deepak Punia (Services) beat Pawan Saroha (Railways) 6-2
97kg – Satyawart Kadian (Railways) beat Mausam Khatri (Har) 12-2
125kg – Sumit Malik (Railways) beat Satendar (Services) 9-0