Unwell Bajrang’s participation at Worlds to be decided next week

The final trial between Rahul Maan and Bajrang Punia will be held next week and the winner will be selected for the World Championship.

India's Bajrang Punia, the highest ranked Indian male grappler (6th in his category), won bronze in the 60kg in the 2013 edition of the Wrestling World Championships.   -  Sandeep Saxena

An unwell former medallist Bajrang Punia would get another shot at being selected for the 2017 World Wrestling Championships after the federation agreed to his request to postpone a decision on his selection till next week.

The rest of the squad for the competition was announced after the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) conducted its selection trials across weight categories at the SAI Training Centre in Sonepat on Thursday. While Rahul Mann emerged the winner against his other opponents in the 65 kg freestyle category, he would now have to face-off against Punia before the Indian representative in the category is finalised.

“Wrestler Bajrang submitted an application to the WFI office requesting that he was unable to participate in the trials due to viral fever and that final trials in his weight category may be held after his recovery. The federation, after consulting with the chief coach, has decided that the final trial between Rahul Maan and Bajrang will be held next week and the winner selected for the World Championship,” the WFI said.

Bajrang, the highest ranked Indian male grappler (6th in his category) and one of only three in the top 20 — Sandeep Tomar being ranked 11th in the 57kg and Harpreet Singh 19th in 80kg Greco-Roman — won bronze in the 60kg in the 2013 edition of the competition, the only time India returned with two medals from the event. The World Championship are to be held in Paris from August 21-26. Trials for selecting women wrestlers would be held on Friday in Lucknow.

The squad: Freestyle: Sandeep Tomar (57kg), Harphool (61kg), Rahul Mann/Bajrang Punia (65kg), Amit Dhankar (70kg), Praveen Rana (74kg), Deepak (86kg), Satywart Kadiyan (97kg), Sumit (125kg); Greco-Roman: Gyanender (59kg), Ravinder (66kg), Yogesh (71kg), Gurpreet Singh (75kg), Harpreet Singh (80kg), Ravinder Khatri (85kg), Hardeep (98kg), Naveen (130kg).