The World Wrestling Championships 2019 is being currently held in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan from September 14 to 22, 2019. The Championships is offering six Olympic quotas in six categories in all three styles. India’s top wrestlers will not only be chasing glory but also aim to qualify for 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The most anticipated participant is three-time Commonwealth Games gold medalist Sushil Kumar who is returning to the UWW World Senior Wrestling Championships after a gap of eight years. Sushil has also won a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics and a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which made him the only Indian to win two individual Olympic medals.
The other star wrestlers representing India are Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik. Bajrang Punia who is in great form has had a remarkable year where he has triumphed at all events he competed this season – Asian Championship ,Ali Aliev , Dan Kolov, and Yasar Dogu. He will go into the Championships as the world number one and top seed in 65kg. Vinesh Phogat, has moved into a new weight category from 50 Kg to 53 Kg.
Indian Greco-Roman wrestlers struggled to register a win at the ongoing World Senior Wrestling Championships. But all the top Indian wrestlers are in the freestyle category and that is where India will look to seal their spot for the 2020 Olympics.
For me the biggest lookout would be Bajrang Punia. He is undoubtedly India’s biggest hope at the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics . Punia has bagged the Asian title twice, won gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games and silver medals at the World Championships and World Under-23 Championships besides securing podium finishes at other elite events. He has also achieved several feats that none other Indian wrestlers could achieve in the past. He is the first to be ranked World No.1 by UWW (United World Wrestling) in the 65kg category, the first to compete in the prestigious German League and the first to wrestle at Madison Square Garden, the famous New York arena.
Punia will be determined to change last year’s silver into gold this time to confirm a berth for next year’s Olympics. The elite wrestler is determined to end the long wait as he aims to become the second Indian after Sushil Kumar’s senior-level freestyle wrestling gold in 2010.
The Championships is offering six Olympic quotas in six categories in all three styles and let’s hope the Indian wrestlers seal all 6 spots.
Vinesh Phogat is the Star and tigress of the wrestling, she belongs to successful family of wrestlers with her cousins Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari, both international wrestlers and Commonwealth Games medalists.
There are some Interesting Facts about Vinesh Phogat
Won the Bronze medal in Asian Wrestling Championships 2013.
Won the Silver medal in 2013 Commonwealth Wrestling Championships.
Won the Gold medal in 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Won the Bronze 2014 Asian Games.
Won the Silver medal 2015 Asian Championships in Doha.
Won the Gold medal 2018 Gold Coast CommonWealth Games.
Won the Gold medal 2018 Asian Games.
Won the bronze meda 2019 Asian Wrestling Championships.
Sakshi Malik became a household name when she won a bronze medal in the 58 Kg category at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. She became the first female Indian wrestler to ever bag a medal at the Olympics.
Apart from Olympics, Malik had participated and won a silver in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and a bronze at the 2015 Asian Wrestling Championships in Doha.
Sakshi’s early life and humble beginnings is an inspiration to many.
Sakshi hails from Mokhra village of Rohtak district in Haryana. Her father, Sukhbir Malik, is a bus conductor and her mother, Sudeh Malik, is a supervisor at a local health clinic (Anganwadi). Her grandfather, Badhlu Ram, who was also a wrestler inspired her to take up wrestling at age 12. Her coach, Ishwar Dahiya trained her at an akhara in Chhotu Ram Stadium, Rohtak. Sakshi and her coach faced many challenges during the initial stages of her career for taking up a sport that according to conservative Indians, is “not meant for girls”.
Hats off to this small town girl who overcame all social taboos and made it all the way to winning an Olympic medal! Hope to see her qualify in this World Championship event to create another chapter in history winning consecutive Olympics medal - this time a Gold medal!
Vinesh Phogat has won bronze medal in women’s 53 kg at the World Wrestling Championships following a 4-1 win over Maria Prevolariki and also becomes first Indian wrestler to book spot at Olympics 2020.
India have now sealed 3 Tokyo Olympic quotas in Nur-Sultan. Bajrang Punia and Ravi Kumar both lost in the semi-final round and will now battle for bronze medal but have secured their 2020 Olympics quota. While it was a disappointing end for Rio Olympic bronze medalist Sakshi Malik and Divya Kakran.
India finished with their best-ever medal haul at the World Championships with 5 medals in Nur-Sultan that includes-- 1 silver and 4 bronze medals. India also finished with highest tally at World Boxing Championship as well.
India’s previous best show was in 2013, when India manged to win three medals with help of great performances of Amir Dahiya (silver), Bajrang Punia (bronze) and Sandeep Tulsi Yadav (bronze in Greco-Roman).
In just concluded event India won 1 silver and 4 bronze medals. Unfortunately, Deepak Punia had to pull out of final due to Injury, otherwise A shining Gold also could have been part of the kitty. Ravi Kumar Dahiya, Rahul Aware, Bajrang Punia & Vinesh Phogat won a bronze each.
India also secured fourth Berths in wrestling at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Deepak, Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia and Ravi Kumar all qualified in their respective categories.
Deepak Purnia has climbed to top spot in rankings in 86kg category after his Silver! Rahul Aware’s bronze medal has also pushed him to world No. 2. In 57kg, world bronze medallist Ravi Dahiya has entered the top-five bracket. He is ranked No. 5. While Bajrang drops form first to second in 65kg category.
Vinesh Phogat too climbs to who also won a bronze in Nur Sultan along with the Tokyo Olympics quota, has jumped to No. 2 in 53kg category. In 50kg, Seema Bisla dropped from second to third rank. In 59kg, Manju Kumari and Pooja Dhanda are at No 3 and No 5.
Bajrang Punia beat Mongolia’s Tulga Tumur Ochir in the final of the 65kg category to defend his title at the Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series in Rome.
Tokyo-bound Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia pulled off a two-pointer in the last 30 seconds of the gold medal bout to defend his title at the Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series event, a result that pushed him back to world number one rank. Up against Mongolia’s Tulga Tumur Ochir, Bajrang was trailing 0-2 till the final moments of the 65kg final but managed to level the scores, 30 seconds from the whistle.
Vinesh Phogat grabbed the 53kg gold medal along with world No 1 rank. It was the second gold medal for Vinesh in as many weeks with a dominant win as the 26-year-old World bronze medallist blanked Canada’s Diana Mary Helen Weicker 4-0 in the title clash.
Vinesh had won a gold medal in Kiev last week and this performance would give her the belief that her preparations for the Tokyo Olympics are on the right track.
The Indian had entered the event as world number three but is back to world number one by jumping 14 points.