Hosts India suffered another jolt when key Greco-Roman wrestler Rajender Kumar joined the list of injured players on the eve of the Senior Asian Wrestling Championships, which begin today at the IG Stadium. With Rajinder opting out, it has further hit the already-depleted India side in the Greco-Roman event.
Earlier, London Olympic medallists Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt were on the injured list and had to skip the continental event, thus weakening the home team in the freestyle events.
In the absence of prominent names, the focus is now on the next-in-line players including Amit Kumar (55kg) and Narsingh Yadav (84kg).
With the key male wrestlers watching the event from the stands, the spotlight will settle on the women's squad, which includes Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari, winner of bronze at the 2012 World Championships.
Given that most of the other participating nations are either fielding second-string or development teams, the Indians can hope to corner glory in front of the home crowd.
Even Iran, considered to be an Asian powerhouse, do not have an impressive lineup. Sadegh Goudarzi, silver
medallist in the 74kg freestyle event during the London Games, is the lone big name in the team.
Iran had in fact claimed the overall title, claiming victory in both men's freestyle and Greco-Roman in the previous edition, while China had dominated the women's events.
IOA, IOC meet put off
New Delhi: The meeting of the sports ministry and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) with the International Olympic Committee (IOA) officials at Lausanne on May 7, has been postponed to May 15. Meanwhile, sports minister Jitendra Singh and IOC
member, Randhir Singh, met on Wednesday to discuss the issue of India regaining its status as a member of the IOC.