WFI cancels camp for Olympic-bound wrestlers, training-cum-competition trip to Europe

NEW DELHI: The planned camp for eight Olympic-bound Indian wrestlers in Sonepat has been cancelled due to hard quarantine and they will instead train in multiple European cities, with the national federation allowing each of them a sparring partner of their choice.

The wrestlers — both men and women — were to assemble at the SAI centre in Bahalgarh on Tuesday, but now, as per the plan devised by the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), all of them will travel to Warsaw in the last week of May.

The capital city of Poland will host the last Ranking Series event before the Tokyo Games from June 8-13, giving a chance to all to earn some crucial ranking points that will help them get a better draw at the Olympics.

“We had planned a camp in Bahalgarh but since they would not be allowed to train for 14 days due to hard quarantine, we thought it is better they for the time being they train at the respective ‘akhadas’ and then travel to Poland,” WFI assistant secretary Vinod Tomar told PTI.

“We are also allowing all the wrestlers to travel with one partner of their choice for practive. A few, like Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Ravi Dahiya and Deepak Punia, will be accompanied by their personal coaches too,” he added.

The WFI has written to its counterparts in Poland that Indian wrestlers be allowed to use their facilities for a training camp ahead of the tournament in Warsaw next month.

After the tournament gets over, the Indian wrestlers will stay put in Warsaw for another training camp, which is being organised by the Polish federation.

Following the Warsaw trip, the Indian contingent will move to Hungary for a training camp and then travel to Turkey, where it will train and compete at the Yasar Dogu event (June 25-27) before returning to India in July.

Vinesh is already abroad with her Hungarian coach Woller Akos and will reach Poland directly from there.

It will be interesting to see if young Sonam Malik (women 62kg) and Sumit Malik (men’s 125kg) will be part of the near 40-day trip since both of them are recovering from their respective knee injuries.

Sonam had suffered the knee injury during the Asian Olympic Qualifier in Almaty while Sumit had suffered the injury during the national camp but still competed at both the Olympic Qualifiers.

He had secured the quota in Bulgaria, where he settled for a silver medal.

“It will take about 10 more days to make all the arrangements, so hopefully they can recover from injuries and be part of the trip.”said Tomar.

India will field a strong eight-wrestler contingent at the Games, beginning in Tokyo on July 23.


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