Senior wrestlers struggled a bit, but Greco Roman and junior wrestlers shine in 2022
India won 12 medals at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, with Sakshi Malik trying to get her career back on track by winning gold. But only Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat could win medals in the World Championship held in Belgrade.
India’s star wrestlers were expected to dominate at the Commonwealth Games, which they did, but the more challenging World Championships revealed the performances of all but the rise of Greco-Roman wrestlers and the exceptional performance of junior wrestlers has put Indian wrestling in 2022. Made a good year for India won 12 medals at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, with Sakshi Malik trying to get her career back on track by winning gold. But only Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat could win medals in the World Championship held in Belgrade.
Sajan Bhanwala, Nitesh and Vikas in Greco-Roman style as India clinched a historic three-medal haul at the Under-23 World Championships. The juniors (both boys and girls) became medal contenders at international level age group events, a first for Indian wrestling. Panghal, the eventual Under-20 world champion in Sofia, put up a fine show as she could be India’s best contender after the departure of Vinesh Phogat in 53kg.
Ravi Dahiya became an overnight star after his Olympic silver medal in 2021 but his performance this year has not been so dazzling. He won a gold medal at the Asian Championships after starting on the circuit by winning a gold and a silver. He played at 61 kg at the start of the season as he did not want to go through the process of losing weight. He was expected to win a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games and his exit from the World Championship came as a surprise not only to himself but also to his fans as he has dominated the 57kg event.
Interestingly, this year he trained with Indian coaches at the Chhatrasal Stadium and during the national camp in Sonepat as the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) decided not to hire foreign coaches for the country’s wrestlers. Ravi was having a tough time so Aman Sehrawat made good progress in Ravi’s 57kg category. He became the under-23 world champion by winning gold at the Bolat Turlikhanov Cup in Almaty. Ravi will now have to be at his best in 2023 with a berth for the 2024 Paris Olympics also at stake.
Another wrestler Aman will also pose a serious challenge to Ravi in 57kg. Sarita Mor, who will win a World Championship bronze medal in 2021 in women’s 57kg, has already decided that she will compete in this Olympic weight category only. She will try to qualify for the Paris Games. This means that the upcoming season will not be easy for Anshu Malik, who has participated in the Tokyo Olympics. She could not do well in 2022 due to elbow and knee injuries.
Bajrang Punia remains India’s best wrestler in the 65kg category as no other wrestler has come close to posing a serious threat to his spot in the weight category. He struggled a bit this year but bounced back to end the season with a bronze medal at the World Championships. Bajrang’s defense has improved a bit but his offensive game still needs a lot of improvement.
Since the disappointment of missing out on a medal in Tokyo, Vinesh Phogat hasn’t been as quick as she usually is. It was heartbreaking to see Vinesh, one of India’s most talented and strong female wrestlers, struggle. It was good to win a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games where the competition was weak, followed by a bronze medal at the World Championships. Now he is expected to do well in 2023 as it will be an important year in view of the Paris Games.
Disclaimer:Prabhasakshi has not edited this news. This news has been published from PTI-language feed.
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