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Wrestling Asian Olympic Qualifiers: Aman Sehrawat loses, Indian men's freestyle contingent fail to win single Paris quota

Published at :April 19, 2024 at 10:02 PM
Modified at :April 19, 2024 at 10:02 PM
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(Courtesy : @TheKhelIndia/Twitter)

Ajay Gandhar

India has so far secured just one wrestling quota for Paris through Antim Panghal.

India’s hopes of securing a Quota/s in Men’s Freestyle for 2024 Paris Olympics were dashed on the opening day of the Wrestling Asian Olympic Qualifiers in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on Friday. Despite fielding a strong contingent, the Indian men’s freestyle wrestlers struggled, with only Aman Sehrawat advancing to the semifinals.

Sehrawat, a former Asian and U-23 world champion, was the lone bright spot for India. He impressively won his opening two bouts against Kazakhstan’s Yerassyl Mukhtaruly and South Korea’s Kim Sunggwon to reach the semifinals of the 57kg category.

However, his dream of securing an Olympic berth was shattered by Uzbekistan’s Gulomjon Abdullaev, a Tokyo Olympian who dominated Sehrawat 10-0 to claim one of the two available Paris quotas in the said category.

The day began ominously for the Indian contingent as Tokyo Olympian Deepak Punia (86kg) and Sujeet Kalakal (65kg) were denied entry after missing their weigh-ins due to flight delays caused by heavy rainfall in Dubai. With their coach and physio also stranded, the pair can now only secure Olympic qualification at May’s World Qualification Tournament in Turkey.

Of the four Indian wrestlers who did compete on Friday, Jaideep (74kg) and Sumit Malik (125kg) bowed out in the quarterfinals, while Deepak (97kg) was eliminated in the opening round by Japan’s Arash Yoshida.

India has so far secured just one wrestling quota for Paris through Antim Panghal, who won bronze at last year’s World Championships.

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The women’s freestyle events take place on Saturday, with Olympic medallists Vinesh Phogat and Anshu Malik leading India’s charge. Sunday will see the Greco-Roman competitions.

With quota spots at a premium, India’s wrestlers face an uphill battle to increase their contingent for the 2024 Paris Games.

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