India's Olympic contingent is growing day by day and the wrestlers have shown an immense amount of promise. We take a look at a few of the wrestlers who have qualified so far over the past few years and months and are going for the Tokyo Olympics.
Ravi Kumar Dhaiya - 57kg
The youngster broke all expectations on his way to qualifying for Tokyo. In his debut qualification tournament that took place in Nur Sultan, he defeated Arsen Harutyunyan(European Champion) in the pre-quarterfinals before going on to overcome the 2017 world champion Yuki Takahashi in the next round. Despite losing out in the semi-final Ravi Kumar Dahiya asserted himself in two major way. The first was that he lost despite making a comeback towards the final stages of the match despite being down 6-0. The score ended at 6-4. The second was that he managed to qualify for the Olympics by securing a bronze medal.
Bajrang Punia - 65kg
The gold medallist at the Rome Championships this year had already qualified for the Olympics by securing a seeded place by virtue of his rank. At the beginning of 2020, he was ranked 3rd in the world behind Gadzhimurad Rashidov and Daulet Niyazbekov. This was later changed with subsequent victories in the World Championships and the Matteo Pellicone event at Rome. The points added to his tally propelled him to second place in the 65kg category that resulted in an automatic seeded Olympic quota place for him.
Vinesh Phogat - 53kg
One would assume that Vinesh Phogat has not qualified for the Olympics given how hard she has been preparing over the past few months and the vigour with which she has contested in World Championships. However, she has already secured a berth in the Olympics back in 2019. She won a bronze medal in her semi-final bout by beating Maria Perovalakri. It was not only an Olympic berth secured for her but was also the first time she had won a medal at the world championships.
Deepak Punia - 86kg
The first wrestler in Indian history to win the junior world championships, Deepak Punia created history for himself after claiming the first position as being bestowed with the 'Junior Freestyler of the Year' award by the United World Wrestling Organisation in 2019. The same year, he took part in the World Championships and made a stunning run to the final. This is what guaranteed him a spot in the Olympics even though he did not manage to finish his final match due to an injury.
Anshu Malik - 57kg
She too went on a rampage through her qualification rounds and lost only 2 points on her way till the final. In a similar fashion, she managed to claim a place at the Tokyo Olympics despite losing out in the finals by a score of 7-4. Both Anshu and Sonam had strenuous journey prior to their events and were above their weight categories until their first match began. They were even exercising in the airport before their flight in order to make the most of their opportunity. In doing so, Anshu Malik becomes the fifth wrestler to qualify for the Olympics from India.
Sonam Malik - 62kg
The Asian Olympic Qualifiers being held in Kazakhastan were one of the last few stages of Olympic Qualification for Indian wrestlers. Sonam Malik capitalised on this opportunity presented to secure herself a berth in the 62kg category. The youngster from Haryana was trailing by a score of 0-6 in the semi-final round before making a stunning comeback to win 9-6 and claim a spot in the final. Although she did not finish the final, her spot at Tokyo is assured in light of her victorious run at the Asian qualifiers.
More Indian wrestlers who missed a chance to qualify at the Asian Olympic Qualifiers will be vying for the Olympic spot at the World Olympics Qualifiers in May.