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India eyeing rich medal haul in CWG wrestling

other Updated: Oct 04, 2010 14:43 IST

PTI
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Spurred by Sushil Kumar's world title, Indian grapplers would look to make amends for the embarrassment they have brought to the nation by the recent dope flunk and win a bagful of medals when wrestling makes its return in the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Sushil's bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and then Ramesh Kumar's bronze in last year's World Wrestling Championships in Denmark helped in raising the profile of wrestling in the country.

However, just when it seemed everything was going right for the century-old sport in the country, came the doping controversies just ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

Four members of the squad - Arjuna awardee Rajeev Tomar (120kg), Sumit (74kg), Mausam Khatri (96kg) and woman wrestler Gursharanpreet Kaur (72kg) - flunked NADA-conducted dope tests and were found to have used banned stimulant methylhexanamine.

Two other wrestlers Rahul Mann (60kg) and Joginder Singh (120kg), who were not part of the Delhi Games squad, also tested positive for the banned substance.

The Wrestling Federation of India promptly dropped the four wrestlers from the Delhi Games and announced their replacements.

But amid the dope mud, Sushil came to the sport's rescue when he made history last month by becoming the first Indian to win a World Wrestling Championship gold medal.

Incidentally, Indian wrestlers have invariably done well in the Commonwealth Games, clinching 23 gold, 24 silver and 11 bronze medals so far with their best coming in the 1970 Edinburgh edition (5 gold, 3 silver and 1 bronze).

In 2002 Manchester Games, the last time Indian wrestlers had competed, India had done considerably well by pocketing six medals -- three gold, two silver and a bronze.

With the sport making its return to the Commonwealth Games after a break in Melbourne four years ago, the Sushil-led Indian team is eyeing its biggest medal haul in front of home crowd at the wrestling venue inside the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex.

The absence of world-class opposition in most categories would also work in their favour.

The first two day of the event tomorrow will witness Greco-Roman wrestling style with Ravinder Singh (60kg), Sanjay(74kg) and Anil Kumar (96kg) representing India and three medals will be up for grabs.