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Asian Wrestling Championships: All you need to know, preview, broadcast

Asian Wrestling Championships: All you need to know, preview, broadcast

Sarah Waris

Published: 17 Feb 2020 8:08 AM GMT

As many as 30 wrestlers from India - 10 each in the men's and women's freestyle category along with 10 more in the Greco-Roman event - will be vying for top honours in the Asian Wrestling Championships that begins at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex in New Delhi from February 18. Ahead of the Olympics, the Indians will be eager to impress, with a good performance here helping them seal their spot for the Asian Qualifiers for the Tokyo Games that starts from July 24.

The nation returned with 16 medals in the Asian Wrestling Championships held in Xi'an last time around, though only Bajrang Punia had managed to win a gold. Six wrestlers had bagged silver with nine clinching bronze as India had ended fifth on the points table. With a large contingent this year, one is hopeful that the grapplers can better their own showing in what will be a relatively easier field in the absence of North Korea, China, who have not been given visas for the event, and Turkmenistan.

Bajrang Punia (Image: ET)
Bajrang Punia (Image: ET)

The highest hopes will rest on Vinesh Phogat, Ravi Dahiya and Punia to return with the yellow metal. Phogat, who won a bronze in the World Championships last year, has already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics and a gold medal here will increase her morale further. However, she will face a stiff competition from world number 3 Mayu Mukaida, who had defeated the Indian in the semis at the World Championships last year.

Punia, India's biggest hope in the Olympics, is in fine form, having won gold at the 2018 Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games, and followed it up with a silver at the Wrestling World Championships. He grabbed a bronze in the World Championships last year and started 2020 with a bang as he won gold at the Rome Ranking Series. His biggest rival will be Duelet Niyazbekov of Kazakhstan, who had defeated Punia controversially in the semi-finals of the World Championships last year.

Ravi Dahiya will not have it easy (Source: UWW)
Ravi Dahiya will not have it easy (Source: UWW)

Ravi Dahiya will turn out in the 57 kg weight category, one category below his usual one. The gold medal winner at the recent Rome Ranking Series will face his stiffest battle from Reza Ahmedali Atrinagharchi of Iran.

Deepak Punia, a silver medalist at the World Championships in 2019, will also be a wrestler to watch out for.

A number of youngsters like Anshu Malik, Sonam Malik and Ashu will take the mat as well in the six-day event. Anshu created waves after she defeated Pooja Dhanda in the trials of the 57 kg weight division. This will be her first-ever seniors event and will be excited to prove a point.

Sonam had recently defeated Sakshi Malik in the trails last month, and though she could not replicate her showing at the international level and lost in the first round of the Rome Ranking series. Sakshi Malik will be competing in the non-Olympic 65 kg weight category.

Also read: Pakistani wrestlers get visas to India for the Asian Wrestling Championships 2020

Greco-Roman wrestler Ashu, who competes in the 60 kg weight event, is a 2019 Junior National Champion from Haryana who put up a stiff fight in the bronze medal match at the Rome Ranking Series before going down to Qiye Tian of China.

Indian squad for the Asian Wrestling Championships:

Men: Ravi Kumar (57 kg), Rahul Aware (61 kg), Bajrang Punia (65 kg), Naveen (70 kg), Jitender (74 kg), Gourav Baliyan (79 kg), Deepak Punia (86 kg), Sombir (92 kg), Satywart Kadian (97 kg), Sumit Malik (125 kg)

Women: Nirmala Devi (50 kg), Vinesh Phogat (53 kg), Pinki (55 kg), Anshu Malik (57 kg), Sarita Mor (59 kg), Sonam Malik (62 kg), Sakshi Malik (65 kg), Divya Kakran (68 kg), Gursharan Preet Kaur (72 kg), Kiran Bishnoi (76 kg)

Greco-Roman squad: Arjun Halakurki (55 kg), Gyanender Dahiya (60 kg), Sachin Rana (63 kg), Ashu (67 kg), Aditya Kundu (72 kg), Sajan Bhanwal (77 kg), Harpreet Singh (82 kg), Sunil Kumar (87 kg), Hardeep Singh (97 kg), Naveen (130 kg)


Feb 18 – Tuesday – Finals Greco-Roman – 55-63-77-87-130 kg

Feb 19 – Wednesday – Finals matches GR – 60-67-72-82-97 kg

Feb 20 – Thursday – Finals WW – 50-55-59-68-76 kg

Feb 21 – Friday – Finals WW – 53-57-62-65-72

Feb 22– Saturday – Finals FS – 57-65-70-79-97 kg

Feb 23 – Sunday – Finals FS – 61-74-86-92-125 kg

When and where to watch

Star Sports First will broadcast all the finals of the event live from 6PM every day from 18th to 23rd February. Hotstar will digitally stream the events too.

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