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India’s wrestlers looking forward to world class competition at Ashgabat 2017

21 June, 2017 (09:56)
Tags: Wrestling, India

India has been a strong force on the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games circuit. Since the Asian Indoor Games’ inception in 2005, India has won 25 gold, 28 silver and 66 bronze medals to stand ninth in the overall medal table, and the country already has its sights set on a strong performance at Ashgabat 2017 in September. 

Just recently, India, the second most populous country in the world, hosted the Asian Wrestling Championships in New Delhi and finished fifth overall with a gold, five silver and four bronze medals.

With wrestling events appearing at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games for the very first time when Ashgabat hosts the event in September, India is determined to perform strongly.

Indian Wrestling Federation Secretary General VN Prasood said that India will be sending a full strength team to Turkmenistan.

“For the first time, Wrestling has been included in the event’s programme and we’re looking forward to sending our best players there.

“We’re attaching a lot of importance to Ashgabat 2017. We’ll spare no expenses to ensure they’re ready in time for September.”

In another first for Ashgabat 2017, teams from Oceania will be participating at the Games, and the India official sees this as a huge benefit for Asian athletes.

“Personally, I think it’s a great idea for athletes from the Oceania region to compete at Ashgabat 2017. It’ll mean stronger competition and more benefits to athletes from both regions. I’m fully supportive of the initiative.” 

Japan took the overall title at the Asian Championships in New Delhi with eight gold, three silver and five bronze medals. Iran (seven, two, six) and Kazakhstan (two, five, six) had finished second and third respectively.

Prasood said those three nations would once again prove to be India’s biggest challengers in Ashgabat.

“Japanese women wrestlers did exceptionally well in New Delhi. Similarly, Iran and Uzbekistan have always been strong wrestling nations. Even at Ashgabat 2017, they’ll be the teams to beat. We’ve already started sending our teams to training camps in Bulgaria. They’ll do their best to make an impact in Turkmenistan,” he said.

In New Delhi, India’s Bajrang Punia won gold in 65kg men’s freestyle event. Women wrestlers won a plethora of silver medals in different weight categories — Sakshi Malik (60kg), Divya Kakran (69kg), Vinesh Phogat (55kg) and Sarita (58kg).

The official said he was hopeful that most, if not all of them, would qualify and compete in Turkmenistan.

“These are some of the best wrestlers in India at the moment. We’re organising a 5th AIMAG qualification tournaments in Delhi and I’m hopeful most of them will come through. Although we’ve heard much about Turkmenistan, we’ve never been there. We’re all eagerly looking forward to the competition,” he signed off.

The Wrestling competition of Ashgabat 2017 will be held at the Main Indoor Arena of the Ashgabat Olympic Complex on 25 and 26 September.

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