Bajrang Punia will lead the Indian challenge from the 5th of August.
In the recent past, Wrestling is one sport that has assured India of medals at major sporting events — from the Olympics and Commonwealth Games to the World Championships and more. At the Olympics alone India has won seven medals, with five coming in the last three Games.
India is sending its best set of wrestlers for the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, which include the likes of Ravi Kumar Dahiya, Bajrang Punia, Naveen Kumar, Deepak Punia, Deepak Nehra, Mohit Grewal, Pooja Gehlot, Vinesh Phogat, Anshu Malik, Sakshi Malik, Divya Kakran, and Pooja Sihag.
Here’s a look at five wrestlers who are best placed to win a medal in Birmingham.
Ravi Kumar Dahiya
The youngest Indian wrestler to have won an Olympic medal, Ravi Kumar Dahiya is all set to add another medal to his tally at the upcoming Commonwealth Games. He is in good form, having recently won gold in the Asian Championships by defeating Kazakhstan’s Rakhat Kalzhan on technical superiority. It was his third straight gold in the Asian Wrestling Championships.
His extraordinary comeback against Kazakhstan’s Nurislam Sanayev still remains strong in fans’ minds. On the verge of losing the game 2-9, he made an unbelievable comeback by scoring three quick points to reduce the deficit to 9-5. Then in the dying seconds, Ravi managed to score two more points before converting the takedown to a pin to register a phenomenal victory.
In the upcoming 2022 Commonwealth Games, Olympic sensation Sakshi Malik will be looking to make her mark once again. While the 29-year-old missed qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics, she has returned to form now. At the recently concluded Bolat Turlykhanov Cup, she bagged her first international gold in five years. Talk about peaking at the right time!
The man who did wonders at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Bajrang Punia, is now waiting to create history by winning a gold medal in the upcoming 2022 CWG. Punia is the only Indian wrestler so far to win three medals at the World Wrestling Championships, which make him the favourite to bag a medal in Birmingham. The 28-year-old recently won bronze in the Bolat Turlykhanov Cup, helping India finish with 12 medals.
When it comes to wrestling, Vinesh Phogat is one of the finest India currently has. She is a part of the famous Phogat family that has produced champions like Geeta Phogat and Babita Phogat. In 2019, Vinesh registered her best-ever performance when she bagged bronze in the World Championships. The 27-year-old is a two-time Commonwealth Games gold medalist, and a third medal from her is expected in Birmingham.
Mohit Grewal played his heart out at the Bolat Turlykhanov Cup (Ranking Series) in Kazakhstan earlier this year, bagging bronze on his senior debut. He beat Salim Ercan 6-1 before being outclassed 10-0 by Olympian Yusup Batirmurzaev in the semifinal. He then made a strong comeback in the bronze medal play-off to outscore Sardorbek Kholmatov 8-2 and finish on the podium. Now, all eyes will be on Mohit at CWG 2022. He is set to compete in the 125kg category and all signs point to him being the next big thing in Indian wrestling.