Pooja Dhanda, Navjot Kaur qualify for World Championships without a fight
Dhanda (59kg) and Kaur (65kg) made it to the Indian team here on Monday without a fight as there were no competitors in their weight categories.Updated: Aug 19, 2019 18:04 IST
Pooja Dhanda and Navjot Kaur were all smiles even before the start of the trials for the four non-Olympic categories for the World Championship, scheduled to be held at Kazakhstan from September 14 to 22.
Dhanda (59kg) and Kaur (65kg) made it to the Indian team here on Monday without a fight as there were no competitors in their weight categories. This happened because Wrestling Federation of India had disallowed seven wrestlers from taking part in the trials on grounds of indiscipline after they stayed away from national camps without intimation. Altogether 25 women wrestlers were barred from attending the national camp. It includes Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik.
WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh said they had to take some tough action against the wrestlers for missing the national camp.
“It seems harsh, but we were left with no option. We had to take such a step to bar players from participation. There are certain norms of the Sports Ministry that all athletes in the national camps have to follow,” WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh said.
“No exemption can be given to anybody. The government has been spending so much money and WFI too is trying its best to give better opportunities and facilities to the players. Now, it’s the responsibility of the players to strictly follow the guidelines,” Singh said while giving a pep talk to all the 10 selected wrestlers, including Sakshi Malik.
“Nobody is above the sport. This is an Olympic year and every minute of training is important as we have over a dozen technical staff, including four foreign coaches, and this isn’t good if the girls miss training,” said Singh.
He spent some time with the wrestlers listening to their problems. “They wanted to discuss small issues related to their training, food, lodging etc,” he clarified.
Sakshi (62kg), Seema Bisla (50kg) and Kiran Godara (76kg), who were selected in the trials on July 28, are also facing disciplinary action. WFI has asked them to explain why they were absent from the camp.
“They need to have some strong reasons for their absence from the camp. On Tuesday, we will take a final call on these three players, who have already qualified for the World Championships in Olympic categories,” he said.
The bronze medallist at last year’s World Championship Dhanda, who lost to Sarita Mor in the 57 kg category during the trials for the Olympic weight categories here last month, looked satisfied after making the cut. She appeared for trials in 59kg on Monday.
“It’s a big relief. Loss in trials last month is still hurting and I never wanted to miss the opportunity as last year’s medal was a big boost to my confidence,” said Pooja, who also had a silver medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast. “Even if it’s a non-Olympic category, I would like to win a medal for the country again,” she said.
Pooja said she has been working hard on her fitness and technique. “I have my personal foreign coach from France right now and a physio too and they are working on my technique as well as fitness. I have to work hard to change the colour of my medal at the World Championships as I would be fighting in a different weight category,” she said.
Asian Championships gold medallist Kaur was also through. She too had lost in the earlier trials to Divya Kakran in 68 kg.
There were only three bouts in the trials for remaining two categories. In 72 kg, Maharashtra’s Komal notched up a dramatic win over young Nikky.
Despite trailing 1-2, Komal managed to level the score before she complained of pain in her right hand. She took medication and had her rival on the floor for one quick point in the last 10 seconds. She held her nerves and emerged victorious at 3-2.
Experienced Lalita scored a convincing 9-1 win against Meenakshi in 55 kg final. Meenakshi, a junior wrestler, had a convincing 6-0 win against Kiran in the first round with Asian Games and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Divya Kakran egging her on at the Sports Authority of India’s centre here.
TEAM FOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Olympic category: Seema (50kg), Vinesh (53kg), Sarita (57 kg), Sakshi Malik (62 kg), Divya Kakran (68 kg) and Kiran (76 kg).
Non-Olympic category: Lalita (55 kg), Pooja Dhanda (59 kg), Navjot Kaur (65 kg), Komal (72 kg).