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Grapplers set to maintain supremacy

The Commonwealth Championship has remained a domain of Indian wrestlers and this time too they are confident of maintaining their supremacy in the three-day event beginning in Jalandhar on Friday, reports Saurabh Duggal.

other Updated: Dec 17, 2009 23:48 IST
Saurabh Duggal

The Commonwealth Championship has remained a domain of Indian wrestlers and this time too they are confident of maintaining their supremacy in the three-day event beginning in Jalandhar on Friday.

The championship is crucial for India given the Commonwealth Games next year and the country’s wrestlers will face an almost identical field expected during the 2010 Games. Wrestling will be a medal-minting discipline next year with 21 gold — seven each in men’s Graeco-roman, freestyle and women’s freestyle — up for grabs at the Games.

“It’s an important tournament as we will be able to analyse our preparations for the 2010 Games,” said national women’s team coach, S.S. Sondhi. “Winning a medal in the Commonwealth Championship has never been tough for us but the important thing is how many gold we can win,” he added.

India is fielding two teams of 21 grapplers each in the championship, while 100 more are expected from 11 countries. In the women’s category, India will face a tough challenge from Canada, which had won a gold and a bronze at the Beijing Olympic Games. Scotland and Nigeria are the other tough teams.

In men’s freestyle, all eyes will be on Beijing Olympic bronze-medallist Sushil Kumar. The current World Championship bronze-medallist, Ramesh Kumar, is skipping the event because of a back injury.