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Women can win more medals in 2020 Tokyo Olympics, says Brijbhushan Sharan Singh, president wrestling federation of India

By winning a bronze medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics, grappler Sakshi Malik showed the world that Indian women can also win medals in wrestling, he says

pune Updated: Dec 31, 2018 17:00 IST
Jigar Hindocha
Jigar Hindocha
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Tokyo Olympics,wrestling
Brijbhushan Sharan Singh, president of Wrestling Federation of India at Somatane Phata in Pune on Sunday.(Milind Saurkar/HT Photo)

Brijbhushan Sharan Singh, president, wrestling federation of India (WFI) believes that India has a good chance of securing multiple gold medals in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by women on the wrestling front. “By winning a bronze medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics, grappler Sakshi Malik showed the world that Indian women can also win medals in wrestling,” said Singh. Singh spoke to Hindustan Times.

Where do you think our female wrestlers stand in terms of preparation for the Olympics?

We have three women – Sakshi Malik, Pooja Dhanda and Vinesh Phogat who have a good shot at winning gold medals in the 2020 Summer Olympics which will be held in Tokyo. In fact, we have more women contenders for gold than men. Right now, Bajrang Punia is the only contender for gold in the men’s category. However, the scenario can change in a year’s time.

How does WFI plan to improve India’s medal count in the Olympics?

2016 Olympics saw us winning one medal (Sakshi Malik, bronze), but we hope to bag more medals in the next Olympics and for the same WFI along with the help of the Indian government is focusing on improving in all the aspects (practice, teams, infrastructure, facilities, coaching).

What was the thought process behind reintroducing national traditional wrestling championship?

United World Wrestling (UWW), which is the international governing body of wrestling, took the call in the matter. Traditionally wrestling as a sport was played in the mud, only later was it shifted to mats. So, it was decided to promote the traditional way by implementing it in the nationals. Hopefully, it will attract good wrestlers.

Why do some states have multiple teams registered?

The top five states according to national ranking in wrestling are allowed to send two teams each for the nationals. Maharashtra is one of the top-ranked teams. Due to unavoidable circumstances, the selection process failed to take place in Maharashtra, therefore, they requested to allow three teams for participation, which we sanctioned. If you look at Saturday’s performance, wrestlers from C team of Maharashtra did much better than A and B team.

Why do Indian wrestlers require a foreign coach?

It is not that we don’t have good coaches, but coaches from foreign countries add a new technique to Indian grapplers. When our grapplers fight with Russian wrestlers, we need to implement different techniques which a foreign coach can introduce.

First Published: Dec 31, 2018 16:59 IST