London Olympic medallists Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt could well face off before they get to eye another medal at the 2016 Olympics.
With FILA, the world body for wrestling, crunching the weight categories in the men’s freestyle event from seven to six at Rio, the two grapplers may have to compete to earn the right to don national colours at Rio. This is of course if they last till the Olympics.
Yogeshwar won his Olympic medal in the 60kg category while Sushil competed in 66kg at London. But at Rio, the weight category of the two, as per the FILA draft, will be 65kg. However, Sushil has the option of moving to a higher category.
The draft was prepared after the International Olympic Council (IOC) gave its nod to subtract a weight category each from men’s freestyle and Greco-Roman and add two categories in the women’s section from 2016. Now, there will be six weight categories each in the three events.
At present, there are four weight categories in the women’s section at the Olympics and seven for other competition. The changes have been proposed to give more representation to women’s wrestling and bring uniformity across the board.
“FILA has shared the draft on the new weight categories with the national federations and sought their suggestions,” Raj Singh, secretary-general of the Wrestling Federation of India, told HT. “Asian countries have dominated lower weight categories, so we want that they should not be tampered with.”
Focus on CWG
Sushil has struggled every time he has had to reduce his weight to compete in 66kg, and to further reduce it by a kilogram would only add to his worries. If the current FILA proposal gets the go-ahead, and if Sushil competes in Rio, he might move up to the 75kg category.
“Right now, I am focusing on next year’s Commonwealth and Asian Games and competition there will be held in the existing seven weight categories. I will decide what to do after that,” said Sushil.