Budapest: Buoyed by wrestling's re-inclusion in the Olympic Games, a 22-member strong Indian team of grapplers will fight out it against a strong international field in the World Championships starting here Monday. After bagging two medals at the London Olympics, Indian wrestlers would be hoping to script another success story at the week-long championships.
The sport received a massive boost after it was endorsed by the International Olympic Committee to rejoin the Olympic movement as an additional sport for the 2020 and 2024 Games. Being held after an Olympic year, the championships will begin with men's freestyle competition (September 16-18) followed by women's freestyle (18-20) and Greco-Roman (20-22) at the Papp Laszlo Sports Arena.
India's only gold in the World Championships has come through two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar who won in the 66kg freestyle category in 2010. India failed to bag a medal in the 2011 event. Sushil last played a competitive bout at the London Olympics where he lost in the gold medal match.
A shoulder injury has kept the 30-year-old out of action for over an year, but Sushil said "it has completely healed now". Arun Kumar has been named stand-by for Sushil in the 22-member team. Arun had won a gold medal at the Junior Asian Wrestling Championships at Jakarta in 2011.
India will, however, be without London Olympics bronze-medallist Yogeshwar Dutt, who is nursing a nagging knee injury. His place has been taken by Bajrang (60kg). India have so far bagged seven medals -- one gold, one silver and five bronze -- in these championships.
Reigning Asian champion Amit Kumar will kickstart India's campaign with the 55kg event and there are high hopes from the 20-year-old Sonepat grappler. Arun (66kg) and junior world bronze medal winner Satyawart Kadian (96kg) will be the other contenders in fray Monday.
The World Championships were also held in the female division last year, where Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari won a bronze medal each at Edmonton, Canada. Geeta will be spearheading Indian women's challenge at the marquee event.
India would be missing Olympic bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt, who is yet to recover from a knee injury but will be present at the sidelines to egg on his compatriots.
Freestyle: Amit Kumar (55kg), Bajrang (60kg), Arun Kumar/Sushil Kumar (66kg), Narsingh Pancham Yadav (74kg), Pawan Kumar (84kg), Satyawart Kadian (96kg) and Hitender (120kg).
Greco Roman: Gaurav Sharma (55kg), Ravinder Singh (60kg), Sandeep Tulsi Yadav (66kg), Rajbir Chhikara (74kg), Harpreet Singh (84kg), Hardeep (96kg) and Naveen (120kg).
Female: Nirmala Devi (48kg), Vinesh (51kg), Pooja Dhanda (55kg), Geeta (59kg), Geetika Jakhar (63kg), Navjot Kaur (67kg) and Jyoti (72kg).
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