A strong 30-member team led by Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik and Asian Games gold medallist Bajrang Punia will represent India at the World Wrestling Championships to be held in Budapest, Hungary from October 20 to 28.
The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has selected 10 members each in free-style, greco-roman and women’s wrestling categories.
While Bajrang (65kg) is India’s best bet in the freestyle category, Sakshi (62kg) and Commonwealth Games gold Pooja Dhanda (57kg) medallist will spearhead India’s campaign in the women’s wrestling.
Jagminder Singh will be the chief coach of the freestyle team, while Kuldeep Malik will be in charge of the women’s squad.
Besides 30 wrestlers, the Indian contingent will also have 17 officials including coaches, physio, masseur and referees.
The team will leave for Budapest tomorrow morning where they will have pre-tournament conditioning camp ahead of the main event.
Interestingly, Ritu is the only Phogat sister to feature in the squad as Geeta and Babita did not attend the trials while Asiad gold medallist Vinesh has been ruled out with an elbow injury.
Women’s team chief coach Kuldeep Malik is confident of a better show from his wards.
“We are fully prepared for the tournament. The girls have worked extensively on their technic after the Asian Games and we hope to better our medals tally this time around,” Kuldeep said.
Men’s freestyle coach Jagminder Singh too looked optimistic.
“We will definitely win some medals but I can’t tell you the number. We are fully prepared and the camp before the main event will be very beneficial for us,” he said.
Freestyle: Sandeep Tomar (57kg), Sonba Tanaji Gongane (61kg), Bajrang Punia (65kg), Pankaj Rana (70kg), Jitender (74kg), Sachin Rathi (79kg), Pawan Kumar (86kg), Deepak (92kg) Mausam Khatri (97kg), Sumit (125kg), Jagminder Singh (Chief Coach).
Women’s: Ritu Phogat (50kg), Pinki (53kg), Seema (55kg), Pooja Dhanda (57kg), Sangeeta (59kg), Sakshi Malik (62kg), Ritu (65kg), Navjot Kaur (68kg), Rajini (72kg), Kiran (76kg), Kuldeep Malik (Chief Coach).
Greco Roman: Vijay (55kg), Gyanender (60kg), Gaurav Sharma (63kg), Manish (67kg), Kuldeep Malik (72kg), Gurpreet Singh (77kg), Harpreet Singh (82kg), Manjeet (87kg), Hardeep (97kg), Naveen (130kg), Kuldeep Singh (Chief Coach).