As seven Indian wrestlers begin their campaign at the Tokyo Games, all eyes will be on Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat, who have raised their medal hopes with their impressive performances ahead of the Olympics. Sonam Malik will launch India’s wrestling campaign here on Tuesday.
Sonam will give the first challenge
For India, 19-year-old Sonam will be the first to challenge in the women’s 62kg category. She will face Asian Championship silver medalist Bolortuya Khurelkhu of Mongolia. Both Sonam and 19-year-old wrestler Anshu Malik are newcomers to the senior circuit and as opponents may not have much knowledge of their game and Indian wrestlers can surprise their opponents. Anshu has done well and his game is constantly improving. There is no pressure on both these players and even if they return without medals, they will only benefit from the experience they get here in future.
Gold hopes from Vinesh Phogat
Senior wrestler Vinesh will enter her event as the top seed and has the ability to beat all opponents except Japan’s Mayu Mukaida. The competition in Vinesh’s category, however, will be quite tough. Vinesh’s defense has improved and her ability to counterattack is unmatched, she has shown it when she won the title at the Asian Championships. Wrestlers from Japan and China, however, did not participate in the Asian Championships and other events.
Bajrang’s muscle power will bring gold!
In the men’s section, the Indian challenge will be led by Bajrang, a globally respected wrestler. Bajrang has won six gold, three silver and one bronze medals in his last 10 international tournaments. Bajrang’s stamina gives him the upper hand, but the defense of his leg will be tested, there is a lot of competition in his class and at least five to six wrestlers are ready to win gold medals.
Expectations from Ravi and Deepak too
Ravi is also a medal contender. He has strength and stamina while his technical side is also strong. Most of their competitions are won on the basis of technical proficiency. In his category, Russia’s Olympic Committee’s Javur Ugayev and Turkey’s Suleiman Atli are strong rivals. Deepak Poonia (86kg freestyle) might not be going well prepared due to less playing time in the competition. World Championships 2019 silver medalist Deepak has not participated in the competition since World Cup 2020. He was recovering from a left elbow injury and withdrew from the Poland Open. The Poland Open was the last competition before the Olympics.
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