Sharvan to open campaign as India gears up for U-23 World Wrestling Championship

India, which has sent a 30-member squad, will look to improve its performance from the last edition, where Ravi Dahiya won a silver medal in the 57kg category.

India, which has sent a 30-member squad to the Hungarian capital, will look to improve its performance from the last edition.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Junior Asian Championships gold medallist Sharvan will open India’s medal hunt on Monday at the United World Wrestling Under-23 World Championships in Budapest.

India, which has sent a 30-member squad to the Hungarian capital, will look to improve its performance from the last edition, where Ravi Kumar Dahiya won a silver medal in the 57kg category.

While freestyle exponent Sharvan (65kg) remains one of India’s key medal hopes, the squad also has the likes of Greco-Roman wrestler Sajan Bhanwal, who has three medals from the the World Junior Championships in the 77kg category and will be looking to win his first medal from at under-23 worlds.

Among the women, Pinki and Reshma Mane are looking to make their mark on the world stage.

On the first day of the championships, Naveen (57kg), Naveen (70kg), Virdev Gulia (79kg), and Akash Antil (97kg) will be in action, in addition to Sharvan.

Based on the current form of these wrestlers, the Wrestling Federation of India is expecting a better performance at the World Championships after the men’s team and the women’s team underwent 15 days of rigorous training at Sonipat and Lucknow, respectively.

The championships, which will see more than 60 teams and 600 under-23 wrestlers from around the world in action, will feature the men’s freestyle competition on the first two days followed by women’s wrestling, with the Greco-Roman competition scheduled on the final three days.

The first edition of the tournament was played in 2017 in Poland, where Bajrang Punia led India to three silver medals.

In the second edition, Ravi Kumar Dahiya shone before going on to prove his mettle at the 2019 Senior World Championships by claiming the bronze and confirming a 57kg freestyle category berth at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.