Wrestling Federation meets to finalise Rio plans

Five of out six Olympic qualified wrestlers, including Narsingh, were present at the meeting with WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh in Delhi. Yogeshwar Dutt, who won a bronze medal in the 2012 London Olympics, was the only absentee, informed an official.

Narsingh has already bagged the Olympic quota and has been in top form winning medals in elite events such as last year’s World championship and Asian championship.   -  PTI (File Photo)

Amidst suspense over whether the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) would hold a trial between Narsingh Yadav and Sushil Kumar to ascertain who would compete in men’s freestyle 74kg in the Olympics, the National federation, on Wednesday, convened a meeting of the athletes who booked quota places for the mega event.

Five of out six Olympic qualified wrestlers, including Narsingh, were present at the meeting with WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh in Delhi. Yogeshwar Dutt, who won a bronze medal in the 2012 London Olympics, was the only absentee, informed an official.

It is learnt that the WFI chief sought suggestions from the athletes and their coaches on how to go about the final phase of preparations for the Olympics. Most of the wrestlers and coaches favoured a training camp in Minsk, Belarus, where Indian wrestlers had held a camp prior to the London Games.

Before finalising the preparatory camp, the federation is expected to decide whether it will hold a trial between Narsingh, a 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist who won an Olympic quota place by securing a bronze medal in the World championship in Las Vegas last year, and two-time Olympic medallist and former World champion Sushil Kumar.

Even though a court ruling in the past had reportedly favoured the athlete who claimed the quota place to compete in the Olympics, the WFI might find it difficult to take a decision on the issue.

While Narsingh has bagged the quota place and has been in top form winning medals in elite events such as last year’s World championship and Asian championship, Sushil, who has rarely participated in international events in the last few years owing to an injury but is believed to be working hard for the Olympics, has a towering stature in Indian wrestling.

By allowing a trial between the two, the WFI may also face an undesirable situation of receiving similar requests for trials in other weight categories as well.

Understandably, the WFI is examining all possible options to find a way to settle the issue amicably.