New Delhi: The wrestling squad for the 2024 Paris Olympics will be finalised through a two-step selection process, where the grapplers who have earned the quota places for the country, will compete against a challenger in June and the winner will represent India in the quadrennial showpiece.
So far only Antim Panghal, the world championships bronze medallist in 53kg category, has earned a quota place for the country and she too will have to compete against a challenger on 1 June to know whether she will go to Paris or not.
The young Antim could end up competing against arch-rival Vinesh Phogat for the Paris berth if the 2018 Asian Games gold medallist emerges a “challenger”, which will be determined on May 31.
The IOA constituted ad-hoc committee stated in a statement on Saturday that all the challengers will be determined on 31 May and the “wrestle-off” between the “Challenger” and Olympic quota winner will take place on 1 June.
While only Antim has been able to clinch an Olympic quota place for the country, more wrestlers are expected to earn slots for India in the two upcoming events — the Asian Olympic Qualifier in Kyrgyzstan (April 19-21) and the World Olympic Qualifiers in Turkey (9-12 May).
India can earn 17 more Paris quota places in the two tournaments — six each in men’s free-style and greco-roman and five in the women’s category.
All the future quota places winners too will have to compete against a challenger to secure a Paris spot.
The ad-hoc committee, led by Bhupender Singh Bajwa, said in a statement that the “comprehensive selection policy” for the 2024 Paris Olympics will ensure a “fair and transparent process in determining the athletes who will represent India on the global stage”.
Antim, the two-time under-20 world champion, has, however, been exempted from appearing in the trials in February to select the team for the two Olympic qualifying events in Kyrgyzstan and Turkey.
The other members of the Indian contingent for the two Olympic qualifying events will be selected on the basis of trials, to be conducted in all 30 Olympic and non-Olympic categories, from February 27-29.
All grapplers who were part of the Hangzhou Asian Games and 2023 Senior World Championships can compete in the February trials, besides international medallists in various championships, winners of open trials in U-17, U-20, U-23 categories and all senior Nationals and National Games medallists this year.
Bajwa, when asked whether Indian grapplers will compete under the United World Wrestling (UWW) flag at the Paris Olympics since the Wrestling Federation of India has been banned by the international body, told PTI that, since the Olympics and Asian Games are multi-discipline events, “they will compete as part of the Indian contingent”.
UWW had banned WFI earlier this year for its failure to hold elections within a stipulated time frame. The election process has been stalled because of legal issues.
source : firstpost . com