Indian female wrestlers Anshu Malik and Sonam Malik on Saturday made the country proud as they booked spots for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics in the 57kg and 62kg category respectively.
At the same time, in the 77 kg Greco-Roman style wrestling, Gurpreet Singh, despite defeating the former Olympic champion, could not succeed to get an Olympic ticket. Although India won several medals in this Asian qualifying competition, it was necessary to at least reach the final for qualifying for Tokyo mega event. Many Indian wrestlers, including Gurpreet, lost in the semi-finals, losing their penultimate chance. Nevertheless, the last Olympic qualifying competition will take place in Sofia (a city in Bulgaria) from 6th to 9th May.
Once Anshu and Sonam were rivals at the school level. Sonam decided to participate in the above weight category. Sonam’s qualification means that Rio Olympic medalist Sakshi Malik will not be able to participate in the Olympics this time as WFI only permits those wrestlers to the Olympics who win the Olympic quota.
This time in the semi-finals, she faced Ayaulym Kassymova of Kazakhstan who won the silver medal in the Asian Championship in New Delhi last year. Sonam defeated Ayaulym 9-6 to fulfill her dream of participating in the Olympics. Similarly, 19-year-old Anshu’s dominant display against Uzbekistan’s Akhmedova in the semi-final enabled her to seal a spot for the Olympics.
Earlier, Sonam defeated Taipei’s Hin Ping Pai with technical superiority and defeated China’s emerging Jia Long by 5–0.
Anshu Malik competed in 57 kg and topped the trials first and then won the wrestling based on technical superiority against the wrestlers from Korea, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. In the final, she lost to Mongolia’s Khongorzul BoldsaiKhan 4-7 who was the gold medalist of the Asian Under-23 Championship.
In the Greco-Roman-style wrestling, Gyanendra, Ashu, Gurpreet Singh, Sunil, and Naveen lost in the semi-finals. Winning this competition meant qualifying for the Olympics. Similarly, in the freestyle, Sandeep Mann, Satyavrat Kadian, and Sumit lost their semi-finals, with their hopes being exhausted.
Thus so far, six Indians have qualified for the Olympics: Ravi, Bajrang, Deepak Poonia in the freestyle, and Vinesh, Anshu Malik, and Sonam in the women’s category. Now, this is the last opportunity for our wrestlers at World Olympic qualifying in Sofia (Bulgaria) from 6th to 9th May. It will now be interesting to see if the participation of Indian wrestlers will be able to surpass the number seven of Rio.