WFI plans month-long foreign camp for Tokyo-bound wrestlers

The Wrestling Federation of India has laid out a roadmap for the Tokyo Olympics-bound wrestlers. The Indian squad will leave for Poland in June to train and compete in two competitions ahead of the Games.

India will be an eight-member wrestling team to the Tokyo Olympics this time around. (Representative Image)   -  AP

The Tokyo Olympics-bound Indian wrestling team will gather for a national camp in Sonepat from Tuesday. 

The Indian contingent had returned from Bulgaria earlier this month, where they had a camp and participated in the World Olympic Wrestling Qualifier. Sumit Malik (125kg) and Seema Bisla (50kg) successfully sealed their Tokyo Olympic berths at the event.

RELATED | Indian wrestler Seema Bisla secures Tokyo Olympics berth

“The camp for the men and women wrestlers will be held in Sonepat from Tuesday. They will train here until the end of May and will then head to Poland to participate in the Poland Open,’’ Vinod Tomar, assistant secretary of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), told Sportstar on Thursday.

The Poland Open, to be held in the capital city of Warsaw from June 8-13, is the last “Ranking Series’’ event ahead of the Olympics. These events allow the wrestlers to pick up ranking points, which would enable them to secure a better seeding at the Olympics.

RELATED| How coach Paramjeet Yadav changed Seema Bisla's wrestling career

The team will continue to train in Poland and later travel to Romania or Turkey, subject to clearance. The Indians will be assured of competition in either nation as Bucharest will host the Ion Cornianu & Ladislau Simon international tournament between June 24-27, while the Yasar Dogu international tournament will be held in Istanbul between June 25-27.

The team will return to India in the first week of July and then fly to Japan for the Olympics. 

- Travel arrangements underway -

The WFI has begun working on the visa applications and travel arrangements well in advance to be prepared for any last-minute changes, especially considering the confusion that prevailed ahead of the Bulgaria trip. The Indian freestyle wrestling squad was supposed to fly to Sofia through Amsterdam to participate in the World Olympic Games Qualifier but instead endured an anxious 48 hours as the Netherlands had enforced a travel ban on Indian arrivals. The WFI then got clearance from the Dutch and French governments and the wrestlers flew to Sofia via Paris.

RELATED| COVID-19 travel restrictions challenge India's Tokyo Olympics hopefuls

- Sumit and Sonam to join camp -

A WFI official associated with the planning for the Olympics said that injured wrestlers Sumit and Sonam Malik (62kg) will join the camp and work on their recovery. Sonam, 19, had become the youngest Indian female wrestler to qualify for the Olympics by reaching the final of the Asian Olympic Qualifiers in April. However, she was forced to miss the final due to a knee injury. Sumit, who sealed his ticket to Tokyo by reaching the final at the World Olympic Wrestling Qualifier, also missed his final due to a knee injury.

RELATED| Tokyo-bound Sumit Malik pulls out of World Olympic Wrestling Qualifiers final, settles for silver

India will be sending an eight member team -- four men and as many women have made the cut -- to the Olympics this time around. The qualified wrestlers are - Seema Bisla (50kg), Vinesh Phogat (53kg), Anshu Malik (57kg) Sonam Malik (62kg), Ravi Kumar Dahiya (57kg), Bajrang Punia (65kg) Deepak Punia (86kg) and Sumit (125kg). 

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :