National Wrestling Championships: South Asian Games qualification at stake

The winners in seven categories of men’s and women's events at the National Wrestling Championships will represent India at the South Asian Games.

The National Wrestling Championship begins in Jalandhar on Friday (Representative image).   -  GETTY IMAGES

Qualification spots for the upcoming South Asian Games (SAG) will be up for grabs when the three-day National wrestling championships begins in Jalandhar on Friday. The winners in seven categories of men’s freestyle and women's competitions at the national championships will represent India at next month’s SAG.

The categories in which SAG qualification will be at stake are 57, 61, 65, 74, 86, 97, 125 in men’s freestyle, while in case of women, spots are available in the 50, 53, 57, 59, 62, 68, 76 weight classes. SAG will begin in Kathmandu, Nepal, on December 6.

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The Nationals will kick off with men’s freestyle in all 10 weight classes, where the 74kg competition will feature former Asian Champion Amit Dhankar, junior Asian champion Sachin Rathee and Praveen Rana.

The country is yet to find veteran Sushil Kumar’s replacement in this category, in which reigning under-23 National champion Gourav Baliyan from UP will also compete. In the 79kg category, it will be a battle between former junior World Championship bronze medallist Veer Dev Gulia and Railways’ Jitender.

In the 97 kg category, Railways’ Satyawart Kadian will be looking to avenge his last year’s final defeat against Haryana’s Mousam Khatri.

It will be a star-studded field in the women’s category as India’s best bet for a wrestling medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Vinesh Phogat (55 kg), Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik (62kg), promising Divya Kakran (68kg), talented Seema Bisla (50kg), Sarita Mor (57kg) and Navjot Kaur (65 kg) feature in the event. On the third and final day, the Greco-Roman wrestlers will be in action.