Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist Bajrang Punia will take the mat for the first time since his historic feat last year, at the Asian Championship, after he beat Rohit in the trials. Bajrang, along with Ravi and Deepak Punia were directly put into the finals of the trials, a move unwelcome by many.
All three wrestlers in question did eventually make the championship squad, which starts on April 19 in Mongolia. Ravi got a walkover from Aman in the 57kg, while Deepak beat Vinod 6-0.
Bajarang was expected to make a comeback earlier in the year, in a couple of Ranking Series events, but could not, due to a left knee issue. This was evident in his bout against Rohit as well, with the latter taking a 0-2 lead over Bajrang initially. But the experienced wrestler, who has been training without a physio since the Tokyo Games, defended well.
“This was my first bout after Olympics. It takes time to get that sharpness when you go to mat after so many months. After my injury I did my rehab on my own, I did not have a personal physio with me, otherwise I could have recovered early,” Bajrang said. “Overall I am happy with my performance considering that I competed after eight months. I felt good.”
Meanwhile, the intense competition was witnessed in the 74kg category where Yashi Tushir managed to make it to the team. He got the better of Pritam, the reigning national champion in the category.
Indian team Men’s freestyle: Ravi Kumar Dahiya (57kg), Mangal (61kg), Bajrang Punia (65kg), Naveen (70kg), Yash Tushir (74kg), Gourav Baliyan (79kg), Deepak Punia (86kg), Vicky Chahar (92kg), Satyawart Kadian (97kg), Anirudh Gulia (125kg)
Greco-Roman: Arjuna Halakurki (55kg), Gyanender (60kg), Neeraj (63kg), Sachin Sehrawat (67kg), Vikas (72kg), Sajan (77kg), Harpreet Singh (82kg), Sunil Kumar (87kg), Ravi (97kg), Prem (130kg)