Confident Indian grapplers brace up for Junior World C’ships

The team underwent a four-month long training and competition stint ahead of the tourney.

Members of India’s junior wrestling team at a send-off ceremony in New Delhi on Friday.   -  PTI

A 30-member strong wrestling contingent, accompanied by nine coaches, would be hoping to bring home India’s first gold in 17 years at the Junior World Championships in Slovakia later this month.

The last time India won gold at the world juniors was way back in 2001 when Ramesh Kumar (69kg) and Palwinder Singh Cheema (130kg) returned with golds. The U-20 competition will be held from September 17-September 23.

The competition would see the likes of Deepak Punia, Sachin Rathi, Suraj and Sandeep Singh Maan attempting to continue their recent impressive performances and build on their experiences at the Asian and senior level to bring home the elusive gold.

Four-month long training stint

The team underwent a four-month long training and competition stint that included the Junior Asian Championships in July that saw India win eight medals, including two golds. In addition, the wrestlers also returned with medals from the Asian and World Cadet Championships.

Read - Junior women's team coach: 'Mental training' an essential component of wrestlers' training

Reigning Asian Junior champion Deepak Punia (86kg) hoped to carry on the momentum from the continental event to the Worlds while Anshu, gold medallist at the Asian Cadet earlier this year and bronze winner at the Cadet World Championship in the women’s 59kg, said the grapplers were confident of the hard work and training put in in the last few months. The team left for the competition on Friday.

The squad
  • Freestyle: Naveen Sihag (57kg), Suraj Kokate (61kg), Rohit Kumar (65kg) Vishal Kaliraman (70kg), Sachin Rathi (74kg), Sandeep Mann (79kg), Deepak Punia (86kg), Sanjeet (92kg), Amit Saroha (97kg), Mohit Grewal (125kg); Greco-Roman: Vijay (55kg), Vijay (60kg), Sagar (63kg), Sourabh (67kg), Kuldeep Malik (72kg), Sajan (77kg), Sanjeet (82kg), Sunil (87kg), Viresh Kundu (97kg), Deepak Punia (130kg); Women: Shivani Pawar (50kg) Swati Shinde (53kg), Anju (55kg), Mansi (57kg), Anshu (59kg), Radhika (62kg), Jaspreet (65kg), Sonika Hooda (68kg), Karuna (72kg), Nisha (76kg).