Indian Greco-Roman wrestlers fail in Rio pursuit

Gurpreet weighed 500gm more than what was stipulated to be eligible for the Greco-Roman 75kg category competition at the ongoing 2nd World Qualifying tournament at Istanbul, Turkey, which is the last qualification event for the Rio Olympics.

WFI said Gurpreet's disqualification has cost India dearly and stern actions will be taken against the athlete.   -  Getty Images

It was a disappointing day for India’s Greco-Roman wrestlers at the second World Olympic Qualifying tournament today as Gurpreet Singh was disqualified for being overweight while his other teammates failed to grab a berth for the Rio Games in their respective weight categories here.

The ongoing tournament is the last qualifying event for the Olympics and only the top two finishers in each weight category here are assured of quota places at Rio Games.

Gurpreet weighed 500gm more than what was stipulated to be eligible for the Greco-Roman 75kg category.

Earlier, at the previous qualifying event — the 1st World Qualification tournament held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia last month — Vinesh Phogat was disqualified for being overweight.

"Gurpreet was found overweight by 500gm, so he was disqualified from the competition," Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) Assistant secretary, Vinod Tomar told PTI.

Greco-Roman wrestlers fail

While Gurpreet was disqualified, the others in the fray lost their respective bouts at the early stages of the competition.

Ravinder Khatri lost 6-10 to Laimutis Adomaitis of Lithuania in 85kg and Naveen went down to Metodiev Miloslav Yuriev of Bulgaria 0-9 in 1/8 round bout of 130kg.

The campaign of both Ravinder Singh (59kg) and Suresh Yadav (66kg) was over in the qualification round itself.

Ravinder was thrashed by Revaz Lashkhi of Georgia 0-8 and Suresh suffered a 0-3 defeat at the hands of Artak Margaryan of France.

WFI said Gurpreet's disqualification has cost India dearly as he simply wasted a weight category. The WFI official said stern action will be taken against him but insisted that coaches are not to be blamed for the fiasco.

"After the team returns to India, a meeting will be held and stern action will be taken against Gurpreet. The coaches, however, cannot not be blamed for this as they tried their best to get Gurpreet into shape but he remained defiant," said Tomar.

India's wrestling woes

The Indian Men's Freestyle and Greco-Roman teams have been training at Tbilisi, Georgia for almost a month now and the government has spent a lot on this exposure trip.

"Gurpreet has wasted the government's money. He has been training in Georgia for a month now and maintaining weight is a part of training. But he has let the Federation as well the country down. So, he would face suspension in all likelihood,"said Tomar.

Controversies have engulfed Indian wrestling of late with four grapplers already handed temporary suspension after the previous qualification tournament.

Last week, WFI issued show cause notices to four wrestlers — Geeta Phogat (women’s 58kg), Babita Kumari (women’s 53kg), Sumit (men’s 125kg freestyle) and Rahul Aware (men’s 57kg freestyle) — before handing them temporary suspension for showing indiscipline.

>READ: Four wrestlers handed temporary ban, Rio Olympic dreams over

At the 1st World Qualification event, Babita had forfeited her repechage bout in women’s 53kg, while Geeta had pulled out of her 58kg repechage round, citing injury.

Sumit, who had a chance to book an Olympic berth had he won his repechage round followed by two more bouts, also did not turn up for his repechage bout in 125kg freestyle, stating injury.

Rahul Aware, who was shortlisted by WFI to train in Tbilisi along with his colleagues, had earlier refused to board the flight to Georgia, returning home from the airport.

To add to all this, Vinesh (women’s 48kg) was disqualified from the event for being overweight.

However, Vinesh was let off with a warning as she assured WFI of ensuring an Olympic berth at the ongoing competition here.

With WFI deciding to come down heavily on the offenders and world body also debarring them from this competition, some of the best Indian wrestlers are not taking part in this crucial tournament. And adding insult to injury was Gurpreet joining the list of offenders.