By Nitin Srivastava
New Delhi [India], July 7 (ANI): The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Brijbhushan Sharan Singh feels the Tokyo-bound Indian wrestling contingent should bag four medals in the showpiece event.
Speaking to ANI, the WFI President said, "This time I am expecting big from wrestling. Wrestlers are fully fit and they have worked really hard. Federation and government has put all their efforts and kept no stone unturned. During Rio 2016 there were a lot of controversies -- Vinesh got injured and Narsingh was in trouble for doping. Because of Narsingh's incidence, all were disturbed. There was a problem with training and also for camp but this time there are no such issues."
In Rio 2016 Olympics, the Indian wrestling team was only able to grab a bronze in freestyle courtesy of Sakshi Malik (in the women's 58 kg). "I am sure not just the colour of the medal will change but we will make records. We are not counting one or two medals I am not satisfied with this, I believe that this time at least we will get four medals," he added.
Throwing light on Bajrang Punia's injury Brijbhushan Sharan said, "Everything is fine with him, there is no problem. We are expecting 4 medals and may also get a bonus. I am only looking at the fish's eye, at least 4 medals from wrestling that's all I know."
India's top hope for the Olympic medal in Tokyo, Bajrang Punia, is seeded second in the 65kg weight category by UWW behind the top-seeded Russian Gadzhimurad Rashidov.
8 Indian wrestlers have qualified for the showpiece event: Bajrang Punia (Men 65kg), Ravi Kumar Dahiya (Men 57kg), Deepak Punia (Men 86kg), Sumit Malik (Men 125kg) ( Note: Banned for 2 years due to doping but still time to appeal ban decision), Vinesh Phogat (Women 53kg), Anshu Malik (Women 57kg), Sonam Malik (Women 62kg), and Seema Bisla (Women 50kg).
More than 115 Indian athletes have qualified so far for Tokyo Olympics which will begin on July 23 and will run up to August 8 this year. The event was slated to be held last year, but it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the 2016 Rio Olympics, 117 Indian athletes had qualified but couldn't better the medals haul from the 2012 London Games, which remains India's highest medal tally at a single Olympic Games -- six medals. Indian athletes would be hoping to break that threshold in Tokyo. (ANI)