In the 19 editions of the Asian Championships, Indian wrestlers have won seven gold, out of which two came this year at New Delhi. The Indians finally showed they had come of age, winning a silver and four bronze as well.
It indeed was an affirmation of India's grown clout on the mat that soon after the Asian Championships, the sport's world governing body, FILA, lauded the efforts of the grapplers.
"FILA officials said we could be compared with the best in the world. A lot of credit goes to Sushil Kumar who sustained his form to lift both the World and Commonwealth Games titles over a period of 15 days. I'm sure our wrestlers will continue to impress at the Asian Games," said Wrestling Federation of India secretary-general Kartar Singh.
At the Commonwealth Games, India won 18 medals in 21 weight categories in the men's and women's section.
Indian wrestlers might be rated at the top among Commonwealth countries, but when it comes to the Asian Games, there are many countries that are way ahead.
A good performance in Guangzhou would be the real benchmark for ascertaining India's standard.
"The Commonwealth Games was not really a challenge for our men's team. The challenge only came in the women's section, where Canada fielded a couple of Olympic medallists. So, there is no question of matching the Delhi performance at the Asian Games. If we manage to bag six-seven medals, it would be good going," said Kartar.
The standard of men's freestyle wrestling at the Asian level can gauged from the fact that grapplers from Asian countries won a medal in each of the seven weight categories, totalling 13 at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The stamp of class was evident for all to see.
In the women's section, Asia took away three of the four gold at stake in 2008.
The men's Greco-roman wrestling is not popular in Asia, yet the Asians bagged a rich haul of 11 medals at the Olympics.
At the 2006 Doha Asian Games, India won six medals. "I missed the medal in Beijing and it still hurts. I am preparing hard for the Asian Games and hope to do my country proud as I did at the CWG," said Yogeshwar Dutt (60kg), who won a bronze in the Doha Games and clinched gold in the Commonwealth Games last month.
The absence of world champion Sushil Kumar (66kg) from the Asian Games squad due to injury also reduces the country's medal chances in the upcoming event.
Sushil has been replaced by Pardeep Kumar.