In a bid to make the Pro Wrestling League television-friendly, its organisers have decided to scrap the “slow” 125kg category from the second season of the event which begins on December 15. There will be no new category introduced in its place, but a a weight relaxation of three kilograms will be given to all wrestlers.
The 86kg class, an Olympic weight category, will also not feature in the league for the second consecutive season. The decision to abolish the 125kg category on the men’s side has also been taken because “India doesn’t have quality wrestlers in the super heavyweight category.” “There is no competition in the super heavyweight category from the Indian wrestlers and also it is slow for TV. We have decided not to continue with the category. So the highest weight category this season will be 97kg,” a PWL offical said.
Historically, the super heavyweight category is popular worldwide and has been considered the toughest to compete in. Even after giving weight relaxation of three kilograms, no wrestler above the weight of 100kg can take part in the one-month long league. The second edition of the league will see eight teams compared to six last season.
“We haven’t included any new category but the weight relaxation will allow some more wrestlers to compete in the league. In 74kg, a wrestler who can bring down his weight to 77kg can compete. All 86kg wrestlers can do that,” WFI secretary Vinod Tomar said.
Last year, three Indian wrestlers in the 125kg class were part of the PWL – namely Hitender, Krishan Kumar and Joginder Kumar. Out of the three, two failed to win a single match while Hitender won two matches, both against his Indian opponents.
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Hitender, who won the silver medal at the Senior Nationals this year, rued that there will be no competition for him and his fellow 125kg wretlers. “It’s sad that we won’t be competing. In India, there is very less competition in the 125kg so I was looking forward to this league. It would have given me competition and I would have got more experience which would have helped me in the future,” he said.
Most of India’s heavy-weight wrestlers are dependent on dangals for competition which affects their performance on the mat. Since he will not be in the league, Hitender has to once again fall back on competing in dangals.
“In league I would have wrestled world class wrestlers but now there is only dangals left. I wrestle the same people in the dangals which will not give me improvement,” he says.
Top foreign players expected
Canada’s Olympic champion in 75kg Erica Weibe has also sent her name for the auction. “I have sent my name for the auction and I am hoping to get drafted. I would love to wrestler in the league,” she said in her e-mail confirmation.
Three time Olympic medallist in 48kg from Azerbaijan, Mariya Stadnik and Rio Olympics bronze medallist in 53kg, Sweden’s Sofia Mattsson have already sent their names.
At the launch event of PWL 2, president of Wrestling Federation of India Brij Bhusan Singh Saran said that this time the league will see more Olympic and world champions.
“Last time also we tried to bring top wrestlers from other countries as well but they did not take us seriously but now they have have seen our growth and willing to come. We trying to bring Hasan Yazdani, the 74kg Olympic champion to the league,” he said.
According to WFI, the auction for the second season is expected to take place on November 18 in New Delhi.