When India’s Greco-Roman wrestlers have been combating for a spot within the Tokyo Olympics, their coach, Georgian Temo Kazarashvili, was nonetheless on a flight from Delhi to Almaty, the place the Asian qualifiers started on Friday.
Kazarashvili was anticipated to succeed in Almaty round midnight Saturday, a number of hours after his wards have been already knocked out of the event. However that isn’t all.
The ladies’s wrestlers, who will start their quest for a spot within the Olympics on Saturday morning, too have been scheduled to succeed in Almaty concurrently Kazarashvili – that means, they should step on the mat barely hours after reaching the host metropolis and with out correct sleep for 2 nights.
Wrestling Federation of India assistant secretary Vinod Tomar mentioned the rationale for them reaching on the final minute – or in Kazarashvili’s case, after the occasion – was the journey restrictions brought on by the pandemic.
Raj Malik, the daddy of nationwide champion Sonam, mentioned the group left from Delhi early Friday morning. “I spoke to Sonam within the night earlier than she took her connecting flight. By the point she’s going to attain her resort after finishing all formalities, it is going to be round three am. And early Saturday morning, she should be on the venue for the weigh-in adopted by competitors,” Malik mentioned.
India has despatched a five-member ladies’s group for the qualifiers. Aside from Sonam, others are Seema Bisla (50kg), Anshu Malik (57kg), Nisha Dahiya (68kg) and Pooja (76kg). Sonam, Anshu and Seema are thought-about first rate bets to safe an Olympic quota in Almaty, however how a lot the rushed journey preparations have an effect on their performances stays to be seen.
Tomar mentioned the federation ‘discovered it troublesome to ebook flight tickets’.
“Earlier, there was a direct flight to Astana. However due to the pandemic, that choice was not obtainable. We managed to get 10 seats for a flight on April 7. So, we despatched the six Greco-Roman wrestlers who competed on Friday, three referees and Greco-Roman chief coach Hargobind Singh,” Tomar mentioned. “The subsequent flight we acquired was for Friday morning. The remainder of the group, together with the Greco-Roman overseas coach and the ladies wrestlers, took that flight.”
Different ladies wrestlers competing solely in Asian Championship, which will likely be held on the similar venue, will go away from Delhi on April 13, Tomar mentioned – that’s at some point earlier than their draw and two days earlier than the competitors.
The Greco-Roman wrestlers, in the meantime, struggled to handle with out the overseas coach. On events the place bouts involving Indians have been held concurrently on two mats, Hargobind sat in a single whereas for one more, a wrestler crammed in as an alternative of a coach.
Ultimately, not one of the Indians certified though 5 of them got here agonisingly shut. Gyanender (60kg), Ashu (67kg), Gurpreet Singh (77kg), Sunil Kumar (87kg class) and Naveen (130kg) misplaced within the semifinals. Solely the finalists have been assured of a spot within the Olympics.
The final probability for the wrestlers to earn an Olympic spot would be the world qualifiers, to be held from Might 6 to 9. India have to this point received 4 quotas, three in freestyle – Ravi Kumar (57kg), Bajrang Punia (65kg) and Deepak Punia (86kg) – and one in ladies’s, Vinesh Phogat (53kg).