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Grappling to get a rich haul

india Updated: Sep 07, 2010 01:42 IST
Saurabh Duggal

Wrestling has always remained India's strongpoint in the Commonwealth Games. And like in the earlier editions of the Games, this time too the country is expecting a good haul of medals from the sport. Guide to wrestling

Men's freestyle wrestling, which was dropped for the previous edition of the Games in Melbourne, has been included this time around along with the men's Greco-Roman and women's wrestling. The three events give India a fair chance of making a solid claim on the 21 medals at stake. Know the team members

"We are going to be the biggest medal contributors to the country's overall tally. We are equally strong in all three sections.

"If everything goes well, we will win 18 to 20 medals," said former wrestling great, Kartar Singh, who is also the secretary-general of Wrestling Federation of India.

The doping disgrace that saw three CWG squad members testing positive, could have an impact on the medals haul, but Kartar feels the second ranked players are equally good. "For sure, it (doping) has brought a bad name to the sport. But as far as medals are concerned, the replacements for the three wrestlers are equally good. It is not going to have much affect on the medals haul," added Kartar.

Men's freestyle wrestling
India have always been a dominant force in men's freestyle wrestling among Commonwealth countries. In the 2009 Commonwealth Championships, India won gold in the all seven categories.

"India is a powerhouse of the sport among Commonwealth countries and this time too, we will not disappoint anybody," said Beijing Olympian Yogeshwar Dutt. "As the Games are going to be held in India, we will surely get a home advantage and try to win maximum number of gold," he added.

Olympic bronze-medallist, Sushil Kumar, Yogeshwar Dutt and Narsingh Yadav are also competing in the World Championship in Moscow next week.

For the last two years, India's core group preparing for the Games is camped at the Sports Authority of India's Northern Centre, Sonepat. "We are getting each and every facility, including AC rooms and hall for practice and now it's our duty to give off our best," said Sushil.

Greco-Roman Wrestling
India are expected to make a clean sweep in this category as well.

During last year's Commonwealth Championship in Jalandhar, India won six gold out of the seven at stake. There is no specific country in the Commonwealth that can be considered a threat to the hosts in the event.

Women's Freestyle
Women's freestyle is making its debut in the CWG. "We are having some good girls in all the weight categories and are expecting medals from each one of them," said national coach PR Sondhi. Canada and Nigeria will be our main opponents in this category.

"For the last couple of years, we have been preparing hard and if all goes well, we will make the podium in all seven categories," said Alka Tomar (59kg), who along with Geeta (55kg) and Babita (51kg) will be competing in the World Championship just before the Games.